Basalt Explores Remedies For Possible TABOR Violation

Feb 7, 2019

Since 2010, Basalt may have raised property taxes illegally by not asking voters’ permission. Wednesday night was the second community meeting about the possible violation.

The town contends it’s unclear it truly violated the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) because of some legal gray areas that exist within the law. Some residents present on Wednesday felt there was no ambiguity; according to TABOR, voters need to approve any tax increase.

The amount in question is around $2 million, collected over the past four years. The town isn’t responsible for anything beyond that, because of TABOR’s statute of limitations.

Basalt’s town manager, Ryan Mahoney, explained to those present at Town Hall on Wednesday that, going forward, there are a few options. The town can put a ballot question to voters in November, essentially asking for forgiveness. It would freeze the mill levy at its current rate and let the town keep the revenue it’s collected.   

It can lower the mill levy back to its 2010 rate and refund the money it’s erroneously collected over the past four years. Mahoney said this would entail cutting services.   

Several of the residents wanted to know how much of a refund property owners might get; the town doesn’t have exact numbers currently.