Mel Blumenthal's remarks in his Friday, July 5 column succinctly characterized the treatment of part-time property owners in Snowmass. Nowhere is this more evident than Base Village. In addition to delegating up to 49.5 mills of taxing authority to the developer with zero management, which results in nearly double the Pitkin County tax bill for Base Village owners, the town itself abuses the state of Colorado tax structure that allows a municipality to create a special tax district to fund an improvement.
The state of Colorado allows a special tax district to tax a subset of owners for something that specifically benefits those owners. The example used is a block-long sidewalk. Every property owner on the example block gets taxed and the rest of the town does not. Once the indebtedness to construct the sidewalk is paid, the district is dissolved. In other words, those who benefit, pay for it.
In contrast to the state's intent, Snowmass uses the special tax district called a general improvement district (GID) to tax only Base Village owners for the snowmelt operations of lower Carriage Way and non-ski hours of Skittles operations at 6.001 mills, even though there is significant benefit to the entire town. With no vote or consideration of the taxpayers, town council (which is the GID Tax Board), raised the assessment for this year even though there is supposed to be no assessment increase until the Base Village Metro #2 bonds are retired. Again with no vote from taxpayers, town council can increase the mill levy by 66 percent.
Base Village owners have no voice and part-time owners have no votes to impact this tax district. A sane person would recognize that the primary beneficiaries of Skittles and snowmelted lower Carriage Way are those property owners uphill and all who park in the numbered parking areas and yet, they pay nothing to support the GID expenses. Why is that?
Phrasing Mel's thoughts in another way, for part-time property owners it is "taxation without representation" in the GID. Isn't that what the Fourth of July celebrates ending? Would that these words end this type of oppressive taxation.
Patricia Jayne Keefer
Snowmass Village and Texas