RIFLE, Colorado - Voters in Rifle approved the city's 0.75 percent sales and use tax rate hike in Tuesday's general election.
Question 2A asked voters to approve the increase in exchange for lower future water rate hikes needed to build and operate a new $25 million water treatment plant.
It was given the go-ahead by a 1,667 to 1,114 count (60 percent to 40 percent) in unofficial final results.
The tax hike will take effect in January, will raise an estimated $1.65 million a year, and increase the city's sales and use tax rate from 3.5 cents to 4.25 cents.
No organized opposition came out against the measure.
Rifle Mayor Jay Miller said he wasn't surprised the measure was approved.
"For those who understood the measure, it was kind of a no-brainer," he said. "I know there are those who might have preferred to see a sales tax go toward a recreation center or the [New Ute Events Center]."
City officials have said the more than 30-year-old Graham Mesa water plant is aging, undersized to serve projected population growth and unable to meet possible tougher federal water quality standards in the future.
The city borrowed $25.5 million from the Colorado Water and Power Development Authority to build the plant. Revenue from the sales tax hike will help pay off the debt on the loan.
For more details on what the passage of the tax hike means in Rifle, see Thursday's Citizen Telegram on newsstands and online at citizentelegram.com.