Vail Valley Voices: The case for 5A
Eagle-Vail, CO, Colorado
It’s unfortunate that the Vail Daily editorial board chose to take a position against the Eagle-Vail 5A question without sitting down with either the metro district or the supporters of the issue. If they had, the Daily may have come to a different conclusion.
When Eagle-Vail voters approved the 2007 5A question, it allowed the metro district to keep its operating mill levy at 14.835 after certain existing payment obligations end in December 2009. It was anticipated that those “extra” monies would then be used for upgrades to Eagle-Vail’s pool facility and other recreation amenities beginning in 2010.
Since 2007, however, a number of things have changed. First, Eagle-Vail lost a substantial part of its property tax base when Eagle Bend withdrew from Eagle-Vail.
Then, golf and pool revenues dropped dramatically as the recession took hold. And maintenance and upkeep costs on 30-year-old assets continued to rise.
This combination of external factors effectively wiped out the borrowing capacity of the Eagle-Vail Metro District, significantly changing the financial situation of the district.
Despite this outlook, community planning for improvements to Eagle-Vail moved forward, with over a dozen community meetings, reports from the Urban Land Institute and other planners.
It was estimated that about $20 million would have to be spent over the next 20 years to keep Eagle-Vail’s amenities up to the standards necessary.
Given all this input, Eagle-Vail does indeed have a clear vision of where it is going. And in keeping with the forward looking planning, Eagle-Vail is acting in anticipation of the likely reduced assessed property values coming in 2011.
In order to implement that community vision, the metro district, with the support of the Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association, put forth the current 5A ballot issue to move Eagle-Vail forward. Key provisions of the 2009 5A are that:
1. The funds must be used for recreational improvements, upgrades and maintenance.
2. This being a debt-service mill levy, it automatically sunsets when the bonds are paid off.
3. If another Eagle-Vail neighborhood were to decide to remove itself from the metro district, those properties would still be responsible for their share of this debt repayment.
Eagle-Vail is aging. Just like any home where you have to replace the roof after 30 years, or upgrade the kitchen, or repair the plumbing, we need to invest in our community to keep it up to par.
Short-term fixes and deferments, which are what the metro district has had to implement recently, are not the solution.
We need a long-term, stable source of funding for improvements to our community. We need 5A for ourselves, our children and our neighborhoods. We urge you to vote YES.
Mike Connolly is the chairman of Neighbors for the Future of Eagle-Vail.