De-Bruceing, term limit questions face Carbondale fire district voters
The Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District board is asking voters to approve two ballot questions, regarding spending and term limits, in the Nov. 5 election.For a second time, the district is seeking an exemption from the revenue and spending limits of Amendment 1, also called “de-Bruceing” in reference to Amendment 1 author Douglas Bruce.Fire board president Kevin Keegan said district voters approved a similar ballot question in 1992, but it included a sunset provision to expire in 10 years. Keegan said this year’s ballot question, No. 4B, contains no such sunset provision.”Ten years ago, we didn’t know how this De-Bruceing would work,” Keegan said.The measure allows the fire district, which extends from Marble to Missouri Heights, to collect taxes and grants without being limited by Amendment 1 formulas. Tax rates may not be increased, however, without voter approval.Taxing districts, counties and municipalities have routinely asked residents whether they can keep all the revenues they take in, after Colorado voters approved Amendment 1, which restricts revenue growth without voter approval.The district received no comments opposing the revenue limits ballot question. Arguments in favor of the ballot question, printed in a recent publication from the Garfield Clerk and Recorder’s office, include:-The revenue growth restrictions contained in Amendment 1 are based on the Denver-Boulder consumer price index, which does not necessarily reflect the rapid growth of the local Carbondale economy.-Approval of this ballot measure will not increase taxes paid to the fire district.-This proposal would allow the district to apply for and spend state and private grant money.Keegan said the fire board voted unanimously to let residents decide whether term limits should be lifted, resulting in ballot question 4C. He said the present board enjoys what it is doing, “and we feel we are doing a pretty good job, and would like to continue doing it.”Keegan said if voters abolish term limits, it will indicate they are happy with the fire board’s direction.State statue currently limits board members to two four-year terms, Keegan said. The Carbondale fire district holds elections every other April.Beside Keegan, the other board members are Gene Schilling, Michael Kennedy, Lou Eller and Malcolm Smith.
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