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Vail Town Council considering third tax-related ballot question

The Vail Town Council asked city staff to craft a third tax-related ballot question during its meeting on Tuesday night.

Vail was already planning to propose two other ballot questions for November, one that would raise its sales tax by $0.05, and one that would raise its lodging tax by 2.2%. The third question would raise an additional 1.6% lodging tax that would go specifically toward housing and would be posed at a later date.

If approved, the initiatives would fund housing development and year-round marketing campaigns. The increases could raise Vail’s tax revenue by more than $10 million per year, according to the town’s forecast.

Scott Robson, Vail’s town manager, said the new taxes “won’t solve Vail’s housing issues,” but would be a “step in the right direction.”

He added that the two additional tax increase “would easily be absorbed” by local businesses and consumers with increased tourism.

The final versions of each ballot question will be discussed at the next Town Council meeting on August 17.

Under state law, lodging taxes are required to be spent on municipal marketing and tourism only.

Councilwoman Jenn Bruno said the plan could be a “long-term benefit” for the city because its marketing budget is funded by its 1.4% lodging tax, which is the lowest among comparable resort towns.

Aspen’s lodging tax stands at 3.5% while Crested Butte’s is 5%, and Telluride’s is 6.5%.

According to the town’s forecast, raising sales taxes by a nickel would result in an additional $4.3 million in revenue. Increasing the lodging tax by 2.2% would general an additional $6.2 million in tax revenue.

If Vail doubles its lodging tax, it would bring in an additional $4 million, the forecast says. 

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