Eagle-Vail voters approve tax hike to improve pool, trails, golf course, | SkyHiNews.com

Eagle-Vail voters approve tax hike to improve pool, trails, golf course,

EAGLE-VAIL – A plan to upgrade the golf course, pool and trails in Eagle-Vail passed by a narrow margin Tuesday night.

About 54 percent of voters approved a property tax increase to fund $7 million worth of improvements to community amenities. Of the 762 people who cast ballots on 5A, 410 voted “yes” and 352 voted “no.”

Mike Connolly, chairman of the campaign committee and a board member for the Eagle-Vail Property Owners’ Association, said he was excited the measure passed but acknowledged its opposition.

“We’ve cleared one hurdle but I think given the input we got from the community in the course of this campaign, I think we feel we really need to take into account the positions of those people who were opposed to this issue and make sure we meet their needs to the best extent we can,” he said.

Property taxes in Eagle-Vail will increase 5 mills to 19.835 mills. That amounts to an extra $200 for the owner of a $500,000 home, Connolly said. The tax increase would generate about $487,000 per year – money to pay for improvements voters approved on a 2007 ballot question.

Upgrades to the pool, maintenance to the golf course and improvements to parks are among the proposed projects.

“The next step for us is: We will open the process up to community input on the projects we have listed and start to get some help in prioritizing those things,” Connolly said.

Voters included Eagle-Vail property owners and residents.

Homeowner Bryan Wachs said he originally opposed 5A because he thought property taxes were high enough.

“We went through raising taxes a few years ago … Technically we didn’t raise the taxes, we kept them at the same rate. We extended them. With property values going up, everyone said ‘OK, we should have plenty of money,'” he said.

Then the recession hit and everything changed, Wachs said. He studied the 5A matter more and changed his mind.

“I realized that I was wrong and we needed to put money into the infrastructure here and it was an inexpensive way to keep our property values consistent and hopefully going up again,” he said.

The golf course is one of the things Wachs would like to see fixed.

“I’m not a big golfer but I do golf and I hear from a lot of my friends who do golf often that they don’t like the course,” he said. “‘It needs upgrading. It need maintenance. The facilities are just old and dilapidated.’ Those are things I hear often,” he said.

Staff writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.

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