Small tax increase is necessary | AspenTimes.com

Small tax increase is necessary

I was concerned when I read that Sue Murdock’s taxes have doubled, so I checked the facts.

In fact, in 2000, her actual property valuation was $1,100,000, and in 2001 her valuation increased to $2,100,000, an increase of 91 percent. Her actual taxes paid, however, have gone from $3,600 to $5,800, an increase of 61 percent. Since values are necessarily per state statutes, based on comparable sale values, this increase in taxes is understandable.

And I reviewed my own tax schedule. Since 1966, my valuation has gone from $174,770 to $399,300, an increase of $224,530, or 127 percent. This increased value is based on sale prices of similar properties sold within a specified time frame in the area.

My taxes, however, increased from $1,266.46 to $1,926.50, only 52 percent. Of the total tax amount in 2001, only 5.6 percent went to the county. Seventy percent goes to the Roaring Fork School District, 6.7 percent to Colorado Mountain College, 8 percent to the fire district, 6 percent for open space, a mere 2 percent to the library, and only .6 percent for affordable housing.

Quality of life, sense of place and community are important to me. I choose to live in a place were quality education can occur, where open space is valued and protected, where the public library is considered excellent, where volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line to protect another’s life and property, and where one cares enough about his community to invest in a housing program.

If you agree that we derive great benefits in our county for the truly low taxes we are asked to pay (compared with similar communities), you will vote on Aug. 13 to change the home rule charter to adjust to state limitations.

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This change will enable the county to keep approximately $135,000, the difference in tax-permitted collections between state limitations (TABOR) and limitations imposed by the Home Rule Charter and the local property tax limitation.

A yes vote on Referendum 1A will release the county from the local restriction only. The county must comply with state restrictions and limitations. Any new tax requires a vote.

This change will cost the owner of a $500,000 unit $3 to $4 per year in taxes. The county needs your help to allow it to continue to provide the levels of services that protect the quality of life we all have come to expect.

Dorothea Farris

Pitkin County Commissioner