Torre: Make your vote count |

Torre: Make your vote count

Mayor Torre

This Nov. 8, Aspen voters have many important local, state, and national issues and candidates on their ballots. Aspen voters will have two tax questions on the ballot that I support and that deserve your yes vote. Please vote and exercise your right, responsibility, and opportunity to have your voice heard. Your vote does count, your vote does matter, and your vote does make a difference. Vote yes on 2A and 2B.

Ballot question 2A is regarding a tax on residential properties that are used for short-term rentals. 2A seeks voter approval to implement a 5% tax on the rental fee for owner-occupied-permitted and lodge-exempt-permitted residential units, and a 10% tax on the rental fee for all other STR permitted residences.

The tax is to be used to help mitigate the STR impacts on local housing and community needs. Ballot question 2A was placed on the ballot for your support after extensive outreach and input with every sector of our community.

We heard very clearly that there was a need to address the impacts that the short-term rental of residential units are having on local housing, workforce shortages, and community sustainability. During our community surveys, we also heard from our participants that a moderate and tiered tax that directly applies to residential units and their associated impacts was preferred.

We have responded by returning to the voters with a well-considered, balanced ballot proposal. While the impacts that STR’s are having throughout resort communities are being addressed by almost all of these community with excise taxes to address the impacts, a recent study predicts that STR taxes will not have a negative effect on the rental of these residential units. I encourage a yes vote on 2A.

Ballot question 2B is for the renewal of the existing half of a percent sales tax that funds open space, trails, and recreation in Aspen. Aspen’s greatest assets are the natural surroundings and the access and maintenance of the resident’s and visitor’s experience and enjoyment of these valued amenities.

Ballot question 2B is asking for the re-authorization of the existing 0.5% sales tax for the open space and trails funding for the city of Aspen. This tax was approved by voters in 2000 and requires re-authorization before it sunsets in 2025.

We have placed this on the ballot this year with the hope of getting voter support now, affirming the commitment to our parks, open space, trails, and recreation. A yes vote on 2B keeps our natural amenities and access safe and sustainable, maintains and improves our recreational facilities, and will continue to support the recreation that is so important to our community.

This half-penny sales tax has benefited every resident and visitor in Aspen. The list of how it has been used in this community is long. It has been used for open space acquisitions like parts of Smuggler Mountain and the amazing trails at Sky Mountain. This tax has helped fund the recreation center, improve the golf course, and connect hundreds of miles of trails.

Vote Yes on 2B to renew our support for open space, parks, trails, and recreation.