Vail’s burning question |

Vail’s burning question

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

What to do with the sales tax money Vail collected for a public conference center before the voters decided they didn’t want one after all?

Ah, that’s the $8.6 million question.

The grand notion of county home rule is not the only thing around here that voters approved before they said no at the polls.

In this case, Vail’s voters saddled the town with small additions to the sales and lodging taxes in 2002 to build a nest egg for a conference center. Then, in 2005, they rejected a bid to add a little more to the sales tax so Vail could afford the center it aimed to build.

Yep, they’ll vote again, perhaps as soon as this November, on what to do with the money now.

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Suggestions range from the slightly nonsensical to prudent in the extreme: Some say the money should go only for what it was intended, a conference center. (Only there isn’t going to be a public one; that much is clear.) Others insist the money not be spent at all until there’s a crystal clear reason to spend it. Nothing wrong with the bank, collecting interest, right?

Slightly more abstract thinkers suggest that the money be spent on the underlying reason for a conference center ” to attract more visitors to Vail, particularly in the off-seasons. Given Vail’s continuing challenges with summer, that would be every season the snow isn’t flying and slopes aren’t open.

Some turn to environmental projects, others to affordable housing, and still others to fixing the library and building that West Vail fire station at long last. There just might be as many suggestions as people interested in the question.

Maybe the planned survey of the community will yield dominant themes to choose among in an election, the fairest way to settle this. “Hang on to the money” ought to be one choice, though. It wouldn’t be the worst one, either. Vail can afford to be patient with this one.

” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board

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