Costco invited into Eagle County |

Costco invited into Eagle County

ALLEN BESTSpecial to the Daily

EAGLE – The Eagle Town Board has been between a rock and a hard place. It has had 12 percent average population growth for the last several years, and that sort of growth is likely to run up some big bills in future years as roads need to be replaced. Tax revenues, which in most Colorado towns comes largely from sales tax, have lagged far behind the population growth.That’s part of the story. Another part of the story is, “How do you define the good life.” To many, Eagle already has a high quality-of-life because, despite being 30 miles from Vail, it remains a quintessential small town. To others, the quality of life could be improved by having the sort of stores that they must now drive 130 miles to find in either Denver or Grand Junction.Against this background a developer has shown up with plans for a big-box along Interstate 70, with Costco as his most likely tenant. The town board has said yes but with several sinewy strings attached. The project, said the board, must include a single, national retailer capable of generating an average of at least $80 million in annual sales, a requirement that has the developer grimacing. Also, the town trustees scheduled a community election by mail-ballot.Costco is also considering nearby Gypsum. In similar situations, some towns have virtually given away the farm while trying to land the sales-tax generator. However, in this instance, the two towns are talking about a deal of sales-tax sharing along a 60-40 split. The town with the big box would get the larger share of revenues.

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