Mesa County OKs Gateway tax questions for Nov. 2 ballot

The Gateway Resort and area around the town of Gateway. The Mesa County Commission approved a question for the November ballot asking property owners within the Gateway Public Improvement District to approve a half-cent sales tax.

The Mesa County Commission on Monday agreed to place a series of questions on the November ballot that propose to create new property and sales taxes in Gateway to pay for infrastructure and services as the area develops in the future.

The questions relate to the newly formed Gateway Public Improvement District and local improvement district that exists within the public improvement district.

Only one property owner, Western Sky Investments LLC, resides within the public improvement district and is therefore eligible to vote. Gateway Canyons Resort is part of Western Sky Investments.

Three questions ask to create a 14-mill property tax, exempt revenue generated by the tax from Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights restrictions, and allow the public improvement district to enter into agreements with other local governments to operate and maintain the district.

The property tax would increase property taxes within the public improvement district by $141.12 in 2011 and apply only to properties that annex into the district.

Two other questions seek to create a half-cent sales tax on commercial transactions within the district and exempt revenue generated by the tax from TABOR limits.

The only business currently operating within the district that would be subject to the additional sales tax is Gateway Canyons’ Outpost General Store.

The taxes collected by the district would produce revenue that could pay for everything from domestic water and sewer service to police, fire, and road and bridge services.

In other business, commissioners approved a contract with Country Jam Inc. that calls for the company to pay the county up to $50,000 to provide security and health services at the Rock Jam music festival Aug. 28 and 29.

The board, however, eliminated a provision in the contract that would have allowed the county Health Department to collect up to an additional $3,000 from Country Jam Inc. for costs associated with licensing and inspection of food vendors at the festival.

Julie Shafer, Rock Jam marketing director, said those vendors already pay the county for licenses and inspections, leaving her uncertain as to the purpose of the $3,000 fee.

Commissioner Craig Meis groused about the additional charge, saying it appeared to him the county was charging more to organizers of Rock Jam than any other event that may require county services.

“This one really bothers me because we’re double-billing just because we can, not because it’s right,” he said.


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