Dill-Stone taxes are big | SummitDaily.com

Dill-Stone taxes are big

For many years, people at Keystone have toyed with the idea of incorporation. Today, even resort owner Vail Resorts thinks the idea might have some merit.

That’s partially because Chief Operating Officer Roger McCarthy learned in the last year that the resort pays for many municipal-type services for the community.

Now comes the idea that instead of incorporation, annexation into the town of Dillon might be a better answer. Maybe. Numbers-crunching is going on at many different levels.

The big prize in all of this is the county portion of sales taxes that would flow to Dill-Stone, or whatever the new entity might be called.

Estimates are the 2 percent county tax is worth about $1.7 million. The new entity would control this money, thanks to an agreement the county commissioners made years ago to let towns keep county sales taxes.

If Keystone were to incorporate by itself, the $1.7 million could disappear fast if town government and services had to created from scratch. The alluring aspect of joining Dillon is that a town hall, police department, planning office and public works departments already exist.

Water, sewage treatment and fire protection would continue to be provided by special districts, or by the county – in the case of the Snake River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

One rub in joining Dillon is extension of the town’s 2 percent lodging tax to Keystone. That could create a sales-tax fear factor.

The effective sales tax at most Keystone establishments is 11.65 percent, a number inflated by Vail Resorts’ own 5.9 percent surcharge, collected by businesses linked to Vail Resorts, to help pay off the Keystone Conference Center.

For those buying lodging, the effective sales tax would go to 13.65 percent.

Other towns in the county collect their own sales taxes of at least 2 percent. In Keystone’s sales tax stratosphere, it would take a lot of guts to pile that on, too.

It might be said the greatest obstacle to joining Dillon is the Vail Resorts surcharge.

The resort, it would seem, it looking at a wash in the deal – can it save enough money in other quarters through joining Dillon to make up for the surcharge it might have to eat?

Many other factors remain to be considered by Keystone and Dillon residents, such as how would Dillon people feel if Keystone people start controlling the town council.

The debate starts, however, with sales taxes.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard, Shauna Farnell and Martha Lunsky.

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