County won’t give up on TIF
by Donna GrayPost Independent StaffThe tiff over TIF isn’t finished yet.Unhappy with the initial ruling, Garfield County Commissioners will petition the Colorado Court of Appeals to rehear its case in a high profile tax dispute.The tiff over TIF isn’t finished yet.Unhappy with the initial ruling, Garfield County Commissioners will petition the Colorado Court of Appeals to rehear its case in a high profile tax dispute. The petition will be filed today, said county attorney Don DeFord.The Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling in favor of the city of Glenwood Springs in a tax increment financing dispute with the county and Colorado Mountain College. CMC is requesting the Supreme Court to hear the case, said Commissioner John Martin.CMC president Robert Spuhler and attorney Glenn Chadwick were not available for comment Tuesday.The appeals court agreed with a 2003 summary judgment by District Court Judge Thomas Ossola that CMC and the county would not be substantially injured by the city’s the city’s plan to use tax increment financing to pay for downtown improvements such as a parking garage.”We have the opportunity to ask the Court of Appeals to change portions of or alter their opinion,” DeFord said. He will ask the court to consider what he sees as factual mistakes in the case. At issue is case law the Court of Appeals used as the basis of its opinion. The court cited two similar, but also fundamentally different, cases from Denver and Broomfield, DeFord said. In those cases TIF was to fund specific projects. However, in Glenwood Springs, no specific projects have been earmarked for TIF, although a theater and parking garage are likely candidates.”The heart of the argument is there is no project here,” DeFord said.The fact that the court essentially said in its opinion, “the county doesn’t) have any right to challenge (the lower court opinion) is most frustrating for us,” DeFord said.Another fundamental error in the opinion, DeFord said, was the amount of potential tax loss of about $4 million. That is only the tax loss for CMC, he said. The court didn’t take into consideration that the county stands to lose about $11 million in tax revenue over the 25-year life of the TIF.”They only referred to the amount CMC would lose. It’s like the county was not even there,” he said.It is unlikely the court of appeals will modify its opinion, however.”Traditionally the court of appeals does not grant many of these,” he said.Before resorting to the state’s highest judicial power, the Supreme Court, DeFord said he wants to see how the Court of Appeals rules. “We may then consider asking the Supreme Court to take a look at it.”DeFord said he does to expect to hear from the court for at least a month.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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