Letter: No to RFTA tax question
May 11, 2018
I used to think that the most hated words in my vocabulary were "politically correct," but I now think that the phrase "economic development" has taken over. The problem with most "economic development" brain storms is that they usually come from people who have no idea of how to pay for their ideas, and guess what, they want us to foot the bill.
Case in hand, the Roaring Fork Transit Authority's (RFTA's) newly-proposed November 2018 bond issue, a "master plan" that could cost up to $134 million. Why is it that most "master plans" are never financially phased — the backers just assume that we, as taxpayers, want to swallow their gigantic pill all at once without protest without any regard as to how we are going to pay for it.
RFTA is essentially thinking of asking all those home owners from New Castle to Aspen, who in many cases hardly ever use their services, to increase our home property taxes to the tune of $36/$100,000 per household. You do the math on an average home that is valued at $400,000 upwards to $700,000 or more. Commercial property owners will pay even more as RFTA plans include a higher rate for them.
I'm a senior with a house that took me 20 years to pay for (and I'm not done yet), and I don't ever use their services. Why would we even consider voting for this proposal; it makes zero sense.
Also, look at the majority of people that do utilize RFTA's services. They are workers that benefit the upvalley companies, like Aspen Ski Corp., who employ them — let those companies foot the bill, or I suggest that RFTA should look to other means to finance their "master plans."
It is time that organizations like RFTA seek other sources of income and not expect us to raise our property taxes to accommodate their grandiose ideas. I got a laugh out of the fact that both the Aspen and Basalt government officials jumped at the idea of this proposal — of course it benefits your economy at a cost to all of us homeowners.
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Please vote against this property tax increase; it only favors RFTA and not the average homeowner.