A good time to look at taxes | AspenTimes.com

A good time to look at taxes

Dear Editor:

I’ve been out of the loop, but it’s time to get back in. I think Aspen needs to look at its taxes on property owners that live here year-round, and work or did work here. It is the perfect time to do so with the real estate and overall recession happening.

My parents were both born in Aspen in the early 1900s and worked very hard and did a great deal for the community. Dad, and many others like him, built most of the original chairlifts.

When my family bought the property on Shady Lane in the late ’50s, there was only a small cabin on it. Everyone on the road lived and worked here. Now all have sold out to the rich, and we are the only pioneers still living there. The property was not in the city limits, but got annexed when Jim Breasted was on the council. Now our taxes to the city of Aspen are $4,000 a year ” more than we paid for the land.

Between my dad and me, we worked for the Aspen Skiing Co. from 1946-2007, and we never got employee housing. Employee housing is OK, except those getting it are the very ones that vote yes on all the amenities we get around here and don’t have to pay for them.

Our land is sacred, and we could get oodles of money for it so it could become profane like so much of the community has become. I’m rooted here and want to keep it in the family.

With the passing of my mother in January, many things have come up. She was in Aspen Valley Hospital for a week, and her bills without the doctor were more than $25,000; on our taxes we pay AVH $936 yearly. The ambulance ride was $1,084. She was on the floor with a broken hip when they arrived. Our taxes pay the ambulance $128.80 per year. I did get $241 off for being a senior.

My brother and sisters and I all went to the Red Brick School, which is currently making lots of money for the city. None of us ever had any children in the schools here, but we pay $6,846 a year. Colorado Mountain College charges us tuition, and yet they get $2,925 a year from us, and on and on.

I have had to deal with City Hall and the courthouse in taking care of Mom’s business. The rudeness I experienced from one employee at each was unbelievable. At City Hall one woman was chewing on something for our entire conversation, and at the annex one woman never looked up from her computer. The majority are very helpful and kind. Thank you for those who are.

The main reason our taxes are really high is because of the neighborhood of very wealthy owners that more than likely are a big part of the reason our economy is in the shape it is. I’m sure some of them benefited in some way or other from the bailout. Where is ours? I don’t approve of Jim Blanning’s method or record, but he was trying to tell us something. That, I understand. Aspen property taxpayers, unite; and government, come to your senses.

Roine St. Andre


This correction was published Feb. 20:

A Feb. 19 letter to the editor from Roine St. Andre was inaccurately edited to indicate that her property taxes to the city of Aspen ($4,000 a year, it stated) are more than her family paid for the land. The letter should have stated that her property taxes are actually close to $22,000 a year.

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