Top 5 most-read stories last week: What’s to come of Colorado’s property tax increases, drugs seized in Summit County, and nearby 14ers closed
Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com from March 5-11.
1. Colorado property owners to face astronomical tax increases next year
Colorado homeowners, no longer protected by the Gallagher Amendment, face unprecedented and unsettling increases in their property taxes next year as the run-up in home prices during the pandemic works its way into the state’s tax base.
“We know we will have this issue, but it is like a train wreck about to happen where you have no brakes and you can’t do anything to stop it,” said Glen Weinberg, owner of Fairview Commercial Lending in Evergreen and Steamboat Springs, who has blogged about the slow-motion crisis.
County assessors in late April will mail out valuation notices based on property values as of June 30, 2022, which also happens to be close to when home values peaked in Colorado. Although not one-for-one, looking at how much home values rose in Colorado over the two years prior to the date offers a rough proxy for potential property tax increases in 2023 and 2024.
2. Summit County Sheriff’s Office says it seized $800,000 worth of cocaine during traffic stop Wednesday
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office seized 25 kilograms of cocaine Wednesday, March 8, during a traffic stop, according to a news release.
Around noon, the K9 Narcotic Interdiction and Detection Team initiated a traffic stop based on intelligence received from state and federal law enforcement agencies monitoring the movement of narcotics across the state, the news release from the Sheriff’s Office states.
During the traffic stop the team’s drug sniffing dog — Baby Blue — and her handler successfully detected cocaine in the vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office said in the release. The 25 kilograms of cocaine tested positive for both cocaine and fentanyl and has an estimated street value of $800,000, according to the release.
3. ‘The disadvantages are huge’: Summit County liquor store owners forecast challenge, but not disaster, amid grocery store wine sales
Summit County liquor store owners faced their first week competing with major grocery chains for wine sales after a new state law went into effect March 1 thanks to a voter-approved ballot initiative, which Coloradans passed by a slim margin of 50.6% in November. A majority of Summit County voters cast ballots against the measure by a 56% to 44% margin.
As business owners brace for challenges in their new reality, they’re banking on a slew of factors to give them an advantage.
Chris Carran, who owns Locals Liquors in the town of Silverthorne, is worried that chains like City Market and Safeway will have an unfair advantage. Those companies, Carran said, have more buying power than independent sellers when it comes to products and more luxury to “play with margins” when it comes to pricing.
“The disadvantages are huge,” Carran said.
4. Saturday will be a powder day for much of Colorado, but which ski areas will get the most snow? Here’s the latest.
For those chasing the deepest powder over the weekend, OpenSnow.com founder Joel Gratz said the best bet was to keep driving past Summit County or dip slightly south.
“The wind direction on Friday night and Saturday will be from the west-southwest, west, and west-northwest and this usually favors west-central mountains like Aspen, Crested Butte, and Monarch,” Gratz wrote in his Daily Snows blog, which gives up-to-date information on mountain forecasts for Colorado.
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Copper Resort were expected to get 13 inches on Saturday, while Keystone had a potential to get 10 inches.
5. Landowner will close access to two Colorado 14ers after lawmakers rejected legislation limiting liability
The owner of three Colorado 14er peaks outside Alma says he will close access to hikers after state senators on Wednesday killed a bill that would have limited the liability of property owners who allow public access to private land.
“I have been advised by my own attorneys on several occasions that I am rolling the dice by leaving these peaks open,” said John Reiber, who has spent years working with the Town of Alma, the Forest Service and Colorado hiking groups to keep trails on his land on Mount Democrat and Mount Lincoln open for the roughly 30,000 visitors hiking the Decalibron Loop every year. “Now, I do plan to close the 14ers for access. Without any regulatory support … I can no longer take on the level of risk in case someone gets hurt and wants to sue me.”
The Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday killed legislation — Senate Bill 103 — that would have amended the 1977 Colorado Recreational Use Statute to increase protections for landowners who allow public access from visitors who may sue if they are injured from inherent risks on the land.
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