Copper ballot question proposes tax increase |

Copper ballot question proposes tax increase

Lu Snyder

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Copper Mountain voters will have a chance to approve or veto a mill levy question in May to raise property taxes for the district’s general fund. If they approve it, user fees will be deducted to offset the increase.

The general fund covers the fire department, administration and some public works, said Metro District manager Elizabeth Black.

The proposed tax increase primarily is to ensure proper funding of the district’s fire department, said Tom Malmgren, Metro District chairman.

The fire department, which currently staffs both paid and volunteer firefighters, is trying to make the conversion to a fully paid staff, said Copper Fire Chief Scott Randolph.

In the past year, the Metro District transferred $550,000 from two enterprise funds – one for cable television and the other for water and sewer – and put it into the general fund, Malmgren said. The fees collected for cable and water and sewer have exceeded operating costs, while the general fund has been showing signs of financial decline.

Because user fees are not deductible for those who do not rent out their property, “some property owners around the resort have expressed a desire to transfer (user fee) obligation to real estate tax,” Malmgren said, which would allow the costs to be deductible.

If the mill levy increase passes in May, Metro District officials have agreed to lower fees for cable, and water and sewer. For the average condominium owner in Copper Mountain – the average condo is worth approximately $450,000 – the increase in taxes will be offset by the decrease in user fees, Malmgrem said.

Black predicts water and wastewater fees could be decreased from $24.50 to $18.25 per month, cable fees from $38 to $27 per month, and the need to transfer from the water and sanitation funds to the general fund will be eliminated.

The mill levy increase is not to exceed $489,778 a year or 11.65 mills, Black said. She explained the mills fluctuate based on what the assessed property value is, and will go down as property values rise.

To the average property owner, the tax increase will be a wash – the final amounts spent will be the same as previously, it’s just a matter of where they come from.

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or

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