Approximately 23,000 property owners recently received a postcard from the Grand River Mosquito Control District informing us of their wish to incorporate us into their district and thereby increase our property taxes.
In November, these property owners will vote yes or no. I attended their "Public Hearing" on Sept. 18, which began with an overview. They want to collect an additional $1,500,000 in property taxes (their current budget is $900,000). One important mission is to reduce West Nile virus, which has caused 10 fatalities in 10 years across the whole of Mesa County. They couldn't guarantee that the additional $1.5 million per year would decrease the number of West Nile deaths.
After the briefing, they opened the floor to comments. However, much to the chagrin of the audience, they would only allow those property owners who submitted an exclusion petition to speak. That's when it became obvious - the District had already made up its mind and wasn't holding this "Public Hearing" to discuss people's concerns, they were holding it only to meet state law requirements.
As they attempted to cut off discussion, the audience took turns voicing their concerns anyway. The "icing-on-the-cake" came when Laura Luke, Mayor Pro Tem of Grand Junction, stood up to admonish the board for falsely claiming that City officials had urged the Mosquito District to expand into Grand Junction. Ms. Luke assured the audience that no City official had encouraged this expansion and that she didn't want her property included. To close the meeting, the board summarily disallowed all 32 petitions for exclusion, made no changes to the proposed expansion boundaries, and voted to send the measure to the ballot as is, again underscoring that their minds were made up before this "Public Hearing."
I know how I'm going to vote.