Vail voters reject property tax increase
Despite paying the lowest municipal property taxes in the county, Vail voters said no Tuesday to a 4 mill increase.
The increase, which would have generated about $2.25 million in additional revenue, was killed by 61 votes – 758 people voted for the increase and 819 voted against it. Turnout was 56 percent of the eligible voters.
“I don’t like seeing taxes going up,” said a 38-year-old florist voting in East Vail, who voted against the property tax increase.
Town leaders had proposed the increase to fund part of a five-year capital improvement plan to keep up with more than two dozen private projects planned for Vail Village and Lionshead.
Without it, town leaders said Tuesday, services will have to be cut or a chance at renewal will be missed.
“The transparent cuts are done,” said Vail Town Councilman Dick Cleveland. “The next ones we are going to feel.”
Despite a $1 million cut from Vail’s $21 million operation budget for 2003, Vail will now be looking for $2 million in 2003 and new sources of cash thereafter to fund an $88 million five-year capital improvement plan that would update and renovate Vail’s public plazas and pedestrian corridors in step with more than $750 million in planned private developments in Lionshead and Vail Village.
For 2003, the council had hoped to spend $1.1 million on commercial core improvements and $500,000 on new 911 emergency service equipment, as well as $300,000 on four additional firefighters and $350,000 to set aside for a new or rebuilt fire station.
Vail Town Manager Bob McLaurin said Tuesday night that he plans to ask elected officials to call for a citizen task force to re-evaluate how Vail does business in the wake of voters’ rejection of the property tax increase.
The 4-mill increase would have brought the town’s property tax rate to 47.5 mills, compared to the incorporated towns of Eagle (52.6), Gypsum (55.7) and Avon (59.7) and unincorporated areas of Singletree (62.1), Beaver Creek (68.5) and Edwards (41.9). The tax increase would have taken effect Jan 1, 2003.
Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 602 or at firstname.lastname@example.org