The Northwest Council of Governments says that the house vacancy rate in Vail - the emptiest town in Colorado - jumped from 59 percent in 1990 to 72 percent in 1994, reports the Vail/Beaver Creek Times. While vacancy rates in towns such as Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge and Snowmass dropped slightly last year, in Aspen almost one of every three homeowners lived somewhere else - and Aspen is the most occupied resort town. The vacancy rate is calculated by the percentage of second homes used for "seasonal, recreational and occasional use."
Other than taxes, second-home owners and affluent retirees don't put anything back into the community, says Vail mayor Peggy Osterfoss. At the other end of the spectrum, the vacancy rate for the coal mining town of Hayden, Colo., was 8 percent and for the ranching community of Kremmling, 16 percent. "Elizabeth Manning