Copper’s got something cooking |

Copper’s got something cooking

We can’t wait to see the creative idea Copper Mountain Metro District manager Elizabeth Black is proposing for a new resort-metro district.

At this point, we aren’t sure what a resort-metro district is, and Black is holding back her explanation pending discussion with Summit County.

But it’s not hard to imagine what it likely means: more county tax assistance to help an unincorporated resort – the county’s second biggest sales tax generator – improve roads and other areas of mutual concern, such as snowplowing and law enforcement.

The model created, if there is one, would be of great interest to unincorporated Keystone, the county’s No. 1 sales tax generator. In Keystone, Vail Resorts is figuring out how to back away from municipal-type functions it assumed over the years.

But Keystone doesn’t have a metro district to start with, such as Copper.

At this point, Summit County is still suffering sales tax erosion, and talk of increased spending amounts to dreaming. But the trick will be to get ready for the future when the economy rebounds.

Without question, it is in all of the county’s best interest for Copper and Keystone to get special attention. The business principle is to invest where the money is.

One idea for Copper, at least, might be a tax-

increment financing scheme. Once Copper wins its inevitable approval for buildout later this year, the county might agree to give up a greater portion of both sales and property taxes from new development to support a higher level of service.

As we said, we’ll be watching this one. It could be a new lesson in resort economics.

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