Community Preservation Tax ordinance set for public hearing

Public can weigh in on tax implementation details

[ By Mark Reaman ]

The Crested Butte town council will hold a public hearing on October 18 on the ordinance that will detail the “Community Preservation Tax” if it is passed by voters this fall. The proposed tax would basically charge owners of residential property $2,500 per year (adjusted for inflation) if it is not rented more than six consecutive months in a year-long period. That fee proposal is also tied to a half-cent increase in town sales tax (excluding groceries). All the money raised would go to affordable housing projects.

The tax implementation ordinance details administration and implementation of the tax. It contains potential exclusions to the tax and while not mentioning possible grant funding for those who can show financial hardship in having to pay the annual fee, council has promised to budget some money annually for such a purpose.

One controversial subject of the ordinance discussion was which town staff member would oversee the tax. Mayor Jim Schmidt raised concern that vocal advocate of the new tax, finance director Rob Zillioux, would be the one hearing appeals from the second homeowners impacted by the fee. Schmidt said many of those property owners felt given Zillioux’s statements in support of the tax and characterizations of second homeowners in general, he was not the right person for the task. The ordinance makes clear that the finance director, whoever it is, would have the administration responsibility for the tax as is the case for how all other taxes are administered in Crested Butte.

The public hearing is scheduled for October 18 and will only go into effect if the voters approve the ballot measure this fall. The council voted 6-1 to hold the public hearing on the proposed implementation ordinance with Schmidt voting against it.

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