CMC wastes no time appealing tax ruling
Post Independent Staff
The Colorado Mountain College Board of Directors voted unanimously Tuesday to appeal Monday’s 9th District Court decision dismissing the college board’s claim against Glenwood’s Downtown Development Authority financing plan.
The CMC board met in Eagle on Tuesday, voting 7-0 in favor of moving its lawsuit to the next level.
Glenwood Springs city attorney Karl Hanlon, who helped defend the city against the suit, said the CMC board’s decision to appeal was “not unexpected.”
“We feel very positive that we’ll get a positive outcome at the appellate level,” Hanlon said.
The suit originally was filed in April 2002 by Colorado Mountain College, the Garfield County Commission and others.
The lawsuit challenges Glenwood Springs and its Downtown Development Authority’s right to use a financing method called tax increment financing to pay for improvements in the downtown core.
Garfield County Commissioner John Martin said he thinks the commissioners will agree with the CMC board’s decision to appeal.
“We have to have a meeting first, but I don’t think that Mr. Hanlon has to wait – I’m sure we’re going to appeal,” he said.
CMC Trustee Jacque Whitsitt said when the decision was first made to sue the city in April 2002, she had reservations, but she voted for it anyway. The lawsuit was then approved by a slim 4-3 majority.
“But my feeling now is that we’re already going down that road and that this is the appropriate action,” Whitsitt said.
Glenwood Springs DDA director John Simmons declined to comment on Tuesday, saying he’d rather wait until after a Wednesday DDA board meeting to make any statements about the pending appeal.
Tax increment financing, or TIF, is a system of generating money to pay for projects by using a portion of sales tax revenues and the rise in property tax, or ad valorem, revenues.
The year leading up to Feb. 28, 2002, was designated as the base year for the TIF. So 50 percent of the growth in city sales tax revenues in the downtown district and 100 percent of the rise in property taxes – excluding inflationary gain – within the district since that year will be allocated to the DDA.
It will pay for ventures such as the construction of new parking structure or other downtown improvement projects.
CMC officials and the Garfield County Commission claimed in the lawsuit that the DDA will unfairly get tax revenues that rightfully belong to them.
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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