Carbondale gets $45K RFTA windfall
CARBONDALE, Colorado – The town of Carbondale will receive more than $45,000 in back taxes from the intergovernmental Roaring Fork Transportation Authority dating back to 2001.
It’s a relatively small but welcome surprise for a town that, like most municipalities, is experiencing a downturn in sales tax returns this year.
In the same breath, though, the transit agency that runs the valleywide bus system from Aspen to Rifle wants to begin retaining the town’s 0.1 percent share of the region’s sales and use tax for development of the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
When the regional transit authority (RTA) was approved by voters in 2001, Carbondale retained a 0.1 percent share of the sales and use tax used to fund the district for its own local transportation projects. The money has mostly been used for a variety of street-related improvements around town.
While Carbondale has been receiving the sales tax portion all along, RFTA General Manager Dan Blankenship said it was recently discovered that the agency has not been remitting the use tax portion of the money.
A use tax is the equivalent of a sales tax, but is imposed on such things as building supplies, automobiles and other items purchased outside of Carbondale but brought into the town. Since use taxes are usually collected in conjunction with a building permit or vehicle registration, it can be hard to track.
In any case, “RFTA has never remitted any of the use tax that most likely has been owed to the town,” Blankenship wrote in a memo to the Carbondale Board of Trustees this week.
To correct the error, RFTA determined the amount of total use tax collected regionwide from 2001-08 and prorated Carbondale’s share, according to the memo. That comes out to about $45,600, Blankenship said.
Now, RFTA is acting on an earlier agreement to retain the town’s share of both sales and use tax to go toward the BRT system.
Voters last fall approved a 0.4 percent increase in the RTA tax to develop the expanded bus system over the next several years. It will include more frequent bus service between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, more express buses, local feeder routes and other system improvements.
But, because Carbondale was already levying a 0.7 percent RFTA tax, the town’s share could only be increased 0.3 percent.
RFTA asked, and a majority of the town’s Board of Trustees at the time agreed, to turn over the 0.1 percent share of the former tax if needed. It also served to make Carbondale’s share equal with the other RFTA members.
Town trustees voted 6-0 this week to allow RFTA to retain the town share starting this year.
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