Vail Resorts withdraws appeal on Breckenridge gondola valuation | AspenTimes.com

Vail Resorts withdraws appeal on Breckenridge gondola valuation

Robert Allen
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – Vail Resorts last month withdrew an appeal for Summit County to refund $280,000 in taxes paid over two years on the BreckConnect Gondola.

The company had claimed that $6.7 million the town of Breckenridge contributed toward the gondola project, which the county had valued at $15.9 million, to be a subsidy exempt from tax assessment, said Summit County Assessor Beverly Breakstone.

“This is new testing grounds; Vail (Resorts) was hoping to win an argument on an idea – on a concept that is not how property is valued in Colorado,” she said.

Vail Resorts declined comment on the withdrawal.

The company withdrew its appeal to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Board of Assessment Appeals on Nov. 16, the day before a scheduled hearing.

Breakstone said that while local governments sometimes make deals with businesses allowing them to keep sales tax for a certain amount of time, there was no agreement of any kind between the county and Vail Resorts.

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“It’s just the county’s job to value these things,” she said.

Breakstone said entities such as Summit School District and local fire departments would have been among those contributing to the refund if Vail Resorts had succeeded with the appeal.

The 121-cabin gondola connecting the town with Breckenridge Ski Resort was opened in 2007 as part of a roughly $20 million project that Breakstone said included a bridge across Ski Hill Road and a tunnel under Park Avenue.

Vail Resorts, the county’s biggest taxpayer, began its appeal on the gondola a year ago.

The company also challenged the valuation on the Keystone Conference Center and Keystone Lodge and Spa for the 2006 tax year. That appeal was withdrawn as well.

Vail Resorts last year issued a statement that like all property owners, the company has a right to protest a valuation that appears unfair, according to a previous report.

rallen@summitdaily.com