Case yet to be made for Dillon annexing Keystone |

Case yet to be made for Dillon annexing Keystone

Kudos to reporter Aidan Leonard on his comprehensive article Aug. 11 on the Dillon proposal to look at annexing Keystone (and other areas).

He did a great job reporting on the Dillon proposal and the discussion that ensued.

As noted in Aidan’s article, I didn’t think Dillon made the case for annexation. First, there was no time spent on whether Keystone residents are dissatisfied with county services. Personally, after six years in Keystone, I have few complaints about either county or special district services I receive.

I don’t see a need for greater “Keystone area resident S influence on the area’s future through local area representation on the town council and planning and zoning commission,” nor the need to replace what I perceive as good public works services that “would be timely and tailored to the area,” nor any need for “increased police presence to quickly respond to incidents and to maintain safety.

Facts can always change my mind, but unfortunately few were provided.

Dillon’s presentation included: “Revenue sharing with Dillon’s tax base to keep monies local. Taxes paid within the Snake River Basin, stay within the Snake River Basin, instead of being used throughout Summit County.”

Here again, call me skeptical.

There would be an increased town sales tax of 2 percent. Since many residents now avoid buying or dining in Keystone to escape the current high sales tax plus the convention center surcharge (which Dillon representatives were not prepared to address), it could be argued there is no effect on locals, only tourists.

If my calculations are correct, this would bring the combined state, county, Dillon and convention venter surcharge to somewhere around 13 or 14 percent.

Is there any impact on repeat tourism when sales taxes get this high? Or on locals dining at Keystone restaurants? Also, how would Keystone be affected by Dillon’s 2 percent lodging tax?

There is a Dillon property tax of 4.323 mills that would be added to existing tax bills.

Dillon would receive $600,000 from Keystone, but the presentation didn’t address what tangible benefits would be provided in return?

It was stated that the “county portion of sales tax (2 percent) would be remitted to the town” along with 1.12 mills or $150,000 of the “county portion of property taxes for road and bridge.”

Sounds good, but what is currently being spent by the county in Keystone?

The Dillon proposal said annexation would “secure the financial future of the entire Snake River Basin” and touted the idea of a unified “basin-long” planning process.

One planning commission currently covers the basin, excepting Dillon.

Is there any assurance that the Dillon proposal to annex Keystone will be followed up with the annexation of the entire Snake River Basin – Key West Farms, Summit Cove, Dillon Valley East, Summer Wood, Keystone Ranch, Corinthian Hills and area, Montezuma, etc.?

Does splitting Keystone off from the vast county areas running up to A-Basin provide comprehensive planning for the basin? Or does make it more difficult to coordinate potentially differing standards?

I didn’t hear a lot of negative comments about annexation, only concern that Dillon didn’t make its case as to why we should spend an extra 2 percent in sales tax and undertake a 36 percent increase in property taxes without understanding what we are receiving in return.

I’ll admit that yet another level of government and taxing authority for Keystone residents in these economically challenging times makes me wary. That tax increase of $600,000 per year would go a long way to improving Keystone, but what are those improvements under the Dillon proposal?

I’d rather serious consideration be given to County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom’s proposal for a money-

saving “City and County of Summit” consolidation before creating yet another governmental level for Keystone and other non-Dillon annexation targets. Overall, Summit County services are as good, at lower “cost,” than I have experienced elsewhere.

Craig Suwinski


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