Read full article by Erica Robbie, Aspen Times.com:
Some Base Village homeowners expressed frustrations with the rates of their property taxes, which are more than double what other Snowmass residents are levied, at a town meeting Monday.
“We’ll try to keep emotions under control, but it is difficult when you are staring at ‘tax to the max’ mill levies that are unique to Base Village,” part-time Snowmass resident Pat Keefer said to open the public comment period of the meeting.
The board for the General Improvement District, which encompasses the Base Village area, held a meeting to approve its mill levies for 2017.
Under the Town of Snowmass Village, the General Improvement District (GID) was established in the early 2000s as a way to help finance the development of Base Village, according to Snowmass Town Manager Clint Kinney.
The mill-levy rates have not increased since the General Improvement District inception more than 10 years ago, Kinney said, but a few Base Village homeowners have labeled it an issue of taxation without representation.
Bruce Smith, a neighbor of Keefer’s in the Capitol Peak Lodge, also expressed concerns.
“Capitol Peak owners provide more GID income from privately owned properties than any other group in the Base Village. As such, we invited the GID chair to speak at our annual owner’s meeting on Dec. 5. The GID chair wasn’t able to attend. Neither did any of the other four GID board members or any of the three advisory board GID members. Other groups we invited to our annual meeting sent representation. But not GID,” Smith said. “I’m here to tell you it’s not OK to ignore your taxpayers. The Base Village, to include this GID, has been built using special tax districts. Although (Snowmass) Town Council authorized these special tax districts to include the result of intergovernmental agreement, unfortunately, we as (Base Village) residential owners have no say or representation in these districts.”
He noted that Base Village residential property owners pay taxes at a rate of 211 percent, compared with other Snowmass Village property owners that pay property taxes at 100 percent.
According to the Town Manager’s Office, all property owners in Snowmass Village are levied with approximately 45 mills each year.
Base Village homeowners, however, are charged an additional six mills, per the General Improvement District tax — and another 43.5 mills via the Metro District tax — on top of the 45 required of all Snowmass residents.
Revenue from the General Improvement District tax is divvied between the snowmelt system on Carriage Way and the Skittles lift between Base Village and the mall. Taxes for the Metro District, which is not part of the town government, finances operations such as the garage and conference center, among others, Kinney said.
In essence, he said, both taxes were proposed as a means of helping develop Base Village.
Snowmass Village Mayor Markey Butler acknowledged the homeowners’ concerns, but said, “I just wish we had a path forward.”