Willy Weighs In at the ECT

by the Town Manager of Eagle, Colorado – Mr. Willy Powell

-At the behest of the ECT folks, Willy Powell the Town Manager for Eagle, Colorado was asked to pen an OBJECTIVE piece on the topic of;

Eagle River Station Development Proposal – version 2.0

Like the ECT itself, Mr. Powell’s OBJECTIVE review doesn’t say, nor tell Eagle Voters “how to vote” on this controversial issue.  Voting day for Eagle Voters – Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012.

Here VERBATIM is Willy Powell’s report on what the Town of Eagle voters will decide for ERS v2.0…

willy-powellAt the request of EagleCountyTimes I am writing this article to offer information objectively concerning the Eagle River Station Planned Unit Development project, proposed in Eagle. The project is a mixed use commercial and residential apartment PUD on 88 acres and consisting of up to 732,500 square feet of commercial space and 550 apartment units.

Review of Eagle River Station PUD submittal

Some residents have questioned why the Board of Trustees reviewed the Eagle River Station project a second time when voters turned down the project during the first review process. Any municipality is required by code and state statue to review any land use application upon submittal. The owners of the ERS property, Trinity-RED Development, made a revised application of the project on July 7, 2011. Following the submittal, the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed and on October 18, 2011 recommended approval of the application with conditions, and the Town Board approved on March 27th. The P&Z and Town Board reviewed the application for compliance with the Town’s Master Plans and Land Use codes, including the 2011 Eagle Area Community Plan, the town’s comprehensive land use plan.

Sales Tax Revenues and Revenue Sharing

The town sales tax rate is 4.0% on taxable goods. The current development agreement proposes to share the sales tax: 1.45% to the town general fund and 2.55% to fund the construction of infrastructure and public improvements associated with ERS, such as, the East Eagle interchange, water and sewer system improvements and other items. The town’s 1.45% is added with 0.15% from county revenue sharing, making the total proposed revenues 1.6%. Projections are that this 1.6% going to the town would generate $2,360,000 with completion of the first phase and $3,000,000 after completion of the second and final phase. The 2.55% used to fund infrastructure would revert back to the town after 25 years or when infrastructure bonds are fully re-paid, whichever occurs first.

Other Revenues Accruing to the Town and County

In addition to ongoing sales tax revenues, the town will receive projected one time revenues from ERS as follows: Use Tax of $4,126,000, (which monies are directed to the Capital Projects Fund), building permit fees of $703,000, water tap fees of $3,716,000 and sewer tap fees of $5,310,000.

Eagle County is projected to receive annual anticipated sales tax revenue at build-out of $1,593,000 for the county general fund and $937,000 for ECO Transit and Trails.

Residential Growth and Sales Tax Leakage

In the period from 2003 through 2007 the town’s population doubled, yet sales tax revenues increased by only 22%. Continuing this trend will make the adequate delivery of services to the community difficult. While it can be controversial to situate national retailers and larger format stores within your town, it should be known that more that 50% of Eagle’s current sales tax revenue is being provided by national retailers (Kroger, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc.)

Need for Larger Commercial Lots (or Pad Sites)

The Town of Eagle lacks large commercial pad sites with good access. In recent years we have experienced commercial businesses needing room to grow leave Eagle because of the lack of larger lots at a competitive price. This phenomenon has made the town less competitive for employment, attracting business and receipt of sales tax dollars.

Debt Liability to the Town

Any debt for project improvements, including infrastructure, at Eagle River Station is required to be issued by the Eagle River Station Metropolitan District, not the Town. The metropolitan district is solely responsible for repaying any and all bonds. Any liabilities stemming from repayment of the bonds or any other issue is strictly the business of the metropolitan district. The town would have absolutely no legal, ethical or moral responsibility for repayment of any bonds connected to the project. All agreements for the Town related to the ERS project are very carefully drafted to fully protect the residents and tax payers of Eagle from any debt repayment obligation.

The Vote

Mail ballots have already been sent. The election is Tuesday, May 22 at the Eagle Town Hall, 200 Broadway. For further information on the project visit www.townofeagle.org.

William Powell

Town Manager

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