Basalt river park benefits without tax increases | AspenTimes.com

Basalt river park benefits without tax increases

Confusion abounds as to what the Basalt Finance Committee is up to with respect to the Pan and Fork.

Here is a summary of one of the plans they are looking into that would give voters the approximate same benefits had bond issues 2F and 2G passed, but without the dreaded large property tax increases that many feared the bond issues would bring. A line of credit of as much as $2.9 million that would be repaid in about 4 years without negatively affecting other budget items or property taxes could be used to accomplish the following:

• Fifty percent of parcel to be made into River Park would be paid for using some reassigned park and open space and trails funds that otherwise would not available for a few years. Those same funds are collected from the 1 percent sales tax and must be spent on parks, open space or trails.

• The 50 percent to be developed would be purchased and zoned some form of commercial space to best serve the public rather than continuing to limit options to condo variations like has been the case for the past 2.5 years. After zoning, resell that part on the open market to repay the balance of line of credit. Any excess would flow to the general fund.

• By using a line of credit, citizens could enjoy almost identical benefits proposed by bond issues 2F and 2G and the $7.75 million of tax payer money already invested in and around the parcel, without raising property taxes in the future. The alternative is to continue with the dysfunctional bogus situation of being limited by condo variation proposals from one developer that would diminish public access and usage.

Mark Kwiecienski

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