CMC trustees agree to put Salida annexation issue on November ballot | PostIndependent.com

CMC trustees agree to put Salida annexation issue on November ballot

District voters to decide on expansion

A Colorado Mountain College avalanche safety training course in Salida, where the college is looking to officially annex.
CMC website photo

Colorado Mountain College district voters will be asked in the November election whether the taxing district should expand to include the area served by the Salida School District.

The CMC Board of Trustees, meeting at the Spring Valley campus outside Glenwood Springs Wednesday, voted unanimously to place the question before voters. The Salida School District board agreed earlier this month to ask their own voters in a separate vote whether they should join the CMC district.

Salida is in Chaffee County, part of a three-county service area for CMC that also includes Jackson and Grand counties. However, those areas are not formally part of the taxing district.

The last school district to be successfully annexed into the CMC district was the Steamboat Springs School District in 1982, according to CMC officials.

“In order for the annexation to take place, following state law voters both in the district being annexed and those throughout the college district must vote in favor of the annexation,” CMC explained in a news release.

The respective votes will occur as part of the Nov. 5 election, when CMC district voters will also be deciding five of the seven CMC trustees seats that are up for election.

The forthcoming ballot question reads: “Without increasing taxes to the current residents of the Colorado Mountain College District, shall the Colorado Mountain College District be enlarged to include property within the boundaries of Salida School District Number R32J?”

Through a long series of discussions and following a feasibility study, CMC trustees have said they support the annexation. Among the reasons, according to the news release:

  • The Salida School District is a viable community for annexation into the CMC tax district.
  • The area has educational needs similar to much of the CMC district.
  • Adults living within the school district have more education than the state average, which mirrors other CMC communities.
  • The community is growing faster than the rest of the state as a whole.
  • The birth rate in Salida is growing faster than the death rate, suggesting that the community is becoming younger and attracting younger professionals with children.
  • The Hispanic immigrant population in Salida and Poncha Springs is growing steadily and significantly. The expected growth in this population indicates strong potential enrollment across programs.
  • The only age group in Salida with negative growth is that for 18- to 20-year-olds, suggesting that high school graduates generally leave the community for college outside of the region due to the absence of postsecondary opportunities in the community.
  • Unlike most other mountain towns, Salida has land to grow and thus should expect to experience sustained growth in the coming decades.

As part of CMC’s service area, residents of the area pay tuition of $170 per credit hour, while those living within the taxing district pay $80 per credit hour. The lower tuition rate for in-district students is because taxpayers pay a 3.997 mill levy that supports the college.

“If the Salida School District were to join the CMC district, those taxpayers would pay that same mill levy,” according to the release. “However, adding the Salida School District to the CMC district would have no impact on current taxpayers within the CMC district.

The Salida area includes Monarch Mountain, a small ski destination, and numerous outdoor outfitters

Situated in the Arkansas River, Salida is a business and government center and has been designated as a Certified Creative District by Colorado Creative Industries, a division of the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Four of the seven creative districts in the state are served by CMC, including Carbondale, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs and Grand Lake.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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