Vail Recreation District Mulls New Property Tax

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Still feeling the repercussions of the 2008 recession, and now in the midst of a state-wide housing market boom, the Vail Recreation District finds itself scraping for funds at a time when its facilities are in need of significant improvements.

The district has projected a need for approximately $12.5 million in maintenance and renovations sometime in the next decade to address significant wear and tear on its aging facilities.

The district has predicted that it will be able to cover close to $4 million through revenue from program fees and property taxes. The rest will have to be augmented through an increase in one of those revenue sources.

The Vail Recreation District’s regular programs enjoy a steady popularity, showing an increase in participation annually and an increase in revenue. Unfortunately, more patrons also mean an increase in expenditure.

The district's recreation programs are also being subsidized by the property tax, which is a much-depleted source of revenue due to the state’s Gallagher Amendment, which triggered mandatory tax cuts for homeowners.

The amendment sets commercial property tax at a minimum of 55 percent of Colorado’s total property tax collections, which is expected to result in a $377,000 reduction in property tax revenue in 2018.

Recreation district director Mike Ortiz told the Vail Daily, "Thankfully it's not going to be quite as drastic as we thought it was going to be, but it will happen, and it will happen again the next valuation.”

In July, the district will discuss the possibility of implementing a new sales tax to cover the needed improvements. "We don't know what the exact amount would be," said Ortiz, "but it will be less than one mill.”

Ortiz pointed out that an increase in property tax would likely cost homeowners less than if the district raised program fees. "We would have to raise our fees about 35 percent across the board, and then you also assume there's no decrease in participation,” he said.

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