Anti-COPs group circulates petition
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – After one petition-driven campaign came to a climax Tuesday – the push against Red Feather Ridge – another is just starting up. A still-unnamed group of area residents is circulating an informal petition aimed at City Council’s decision to use Certificates of Participation to fund a municipal golf course and other recreational amenities. They began to solicit signatures during Strawberry Days, said group member Joe O’Donnell.”I don’t know the count, but I heard they did pretty well,” he said.Certificates of participation (COPs) are a method many municipalities have used to borrow millions of dollars without legally going into debt, thereby skipping the need for a public vote that would be required under Colorado’s TABOR Act. Payment by the city for the COPs would require year-to-year approval by council. According to the petition, the group:-Supports “the importance of a citizens’ vote for setting priorities for large municipal expenditures.”-Supports “the citizens of Glenwood Springs being allowed to vote on overriding their 1991 vote denying the financing for a golf course on the same property.” -Opposes “City Council deciding on large-scale expenditures without either formal public input or a vote of the people.”-Opposes “the use of certificates of participation to avoid going to a public vote of the people on this project.”The group is opposed to City Council’s planned use of certificates of participation to build the golf course, a kayak park and to partially fund a swimming pool at the Community Center.The petition also says if council approves the use of COPs to fund the golf course, the loan will increase the city’s debt load by more than 33 percent, so council should ask for a vote to approve the loan. At public meetings involving the COPs, some City Council members and city manager Mike Copp cited what they see as good reasons to finance the recreational amenities by using the certificates: -Low interest rates could go up by the time an election could be held.-The funding source for COPs can be changed year-to-year, while bonds must use the same funding source until paid off.-Some council members said they’re confident voters would go along with the idea.-A financial report said the golf course will eventually generate money that can be used to pay for other recreational amenities.-Having a golf course is necessary to lure a conference center to the city.Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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