Breckenridge voters overwhelming approved a ballot question 2A to impose a so-called lift-ticket tax by a vote of 917 “yes” votes to 185 “no” votes. The tax will guarantee the town $3.5 million annually for transit projects forever.
Preliminary election results show 1,102 Breckenridge voters turned in ballots, representing 34 percent of the town’s registered voters.
Town Council member Mark Burke said the overwhelming support for 2A set a new precedent.
“If it ‘s 80 percent that’s a record of any vote in the history of Breck,” he said.
Breckenridge Town Council has been engaged in finding a long-term solution to parking, traffic and transit problems for a number of years. This past summer, the process involved a Transit and Parking Task Force, a variety of community forums and other means. In July, a poll of Breckenridge voters conducted confirmed that parking and traffic congestion is a serious problem and should be a top priority for town leaders.
In late August, the town council and Vail Resorts reached an agreement on language for the ballot question regarding long-term funding for parking and transit solutions. The agreement provides that the town will exclude all season passes and summer lift tickets from its proposed 4.5-percent admissions tax, and that Vail Resorts will guarantee that the tax will raise at least $3.5 million per year for the town.
Jerry Dziedzic, who worked with the 2A For a Better Breck to promote the proposal, said the results endorses the direction the town council is leading Breck
“The voters are expressing that they like the leadership and the direction we are heading in,” he said.
The agreement reached in August was mutually beneficial.
“Vail Resorts and Breck are joined at the hip,” he said. “Neither could survive without the other.”
Breck resident Hal Vatcher said after the August resolution many people thought the issue was a done deal, failing to realize voter approval was required.
“I did a lot of promoting because I really believe we have a problem and need a solution,” he said. “We’re not a big town but it very difficult to get the message across to the people.”
The approved tax will begin July 1, 2016 to provide time for implementing the necessary systems to collect the tax from winter lift-ticket purchasers. The town will begin the next step in the public process beginning this winter season with studies on traffic flow and size of parking structure. With these results, the public outreach will begin spring 2016.