What funding will be required for the continued and timely construction of our
community’s desired parks, trails, pedestrian connections and open space projects?
In recent years, the Town has gained great momentum in the implementation of strategic plans related to Town amenities, and looking forward, the Silverthorne community has identified numerous capital projects that are needed to serve our growing community. However, current revenues are not sufficient to under take these projects in a timeframe that the Town Council believes the community expects and desires. A large number of capital projects are in the quality-of-life amenity category, including parks, trails, pedestrian connections and open space projects, which are highly valued and desired by the community.
Parks, trails, open spaces, and generally spending time outdoors, are integral to life in the Town of Silverthorne. These amenities are the reasons why many people move here, choose to visit, or buy second homes here. Especially in its recent history, parks, open space and trails have shaped the Town’s physical form, identity and quality of life, and there are plans in place to continue improvements in these areas.
New revenues are needed to bring capital projects to fruition, and given the Town’s current heavy reliance on sales tax, a property tax would be the most prudent form of revenue to seek. A property tax would assist in project funding, and also diversify the Town’s revenues to insulate against the volatility of sales taxes, and the questionable future of sales taxes in a rapidly changing retail sales bricks and mortar environment.
The Town does not currently collect a property tax. Statewide, 260 of Colorado’s 271 municipalities (96%) utilize property taxes to help fund their community’s municipal needs, and locally, Silverthorne is the only municipality in Summit County that does not collect a property tax.
A 7 mill property tax would cost homeowner’s $4.20 per month for every $100k of home valuation. For example, a home with a $500,000 valuation would pay $21/mo. or $252/yr. For reference, in 2017, the average mills collected by Colorado municipalities was 14.61 mills.
The Town has been able to fund and complete many projects in recent years, but those outside revenues are not available for most projects and can’t be counted upon for future projects. Annexations, grants, sales of excess Town land, and public/private partnerships have been used as revenue sources in the past, but are not reliable sources of revenue moving forward. Beginning in 2019, and for the foreseeable future, funding is not available to continue the implementation of capital projects including parks, trails, pedestrian connections and open space projects.
Revenues from a property tax would enable the construction of community-planned and long- desired projects, such as the completion of the Blue River Trail, expansion of Trent Park, and a pedestrian bridge over Hwy 9, as identified in the Parks, Open Space and Trails Strategic Plan, to name just a few. Additionally, a property tax would diversify Silverthorne revenues, contributing to the long-term fiscal sustainability of the community.
It’s important to note that the Town’s overall financial outlook is strong, as the Town has always been managed in a fiscally-conservative manner with well-funded reserves and well-funded asset management and general services. The financial challenge facing the Town lies in realm of funding new community-desired amenities, including parks, trails, and open space.
This is an important topic for our community, and I hope that you will take some time to explore the additional information provided on this page. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can best continue to move Silverthorne forward in a positive direction.
Click here to email Ryan.Hyland@Silverthorne.org