Survey results on tax issues look promising | PostIndependent.com

Survey results on tax issues look promising

Matthew Bennett
mabennett@postindependent.com

Steve Wille with the Glenwood Springs Fire Department returns to the downtown station after a call near the Glenwood Meadows on Tuesday afternoon. A recent poll showed potential voters unequivocally supported the city’s fire department, EMS and paramedic services. In fact, according to the survey, the majority shared “intense, positive evaluations” of its emergency personnel’s performance.

A recent survey of Glenwood Springs voters done by FrederickPolls illustrated praise, by and large, for everything from the city's overall quality of life to the performance of its first responders and emergency personnel.

The poll, which interviewed 300 "likely November 2018 general election voters" — 225 within city limits and 75 in its unincorporated fire district — was conducted between the dates of April 17 and May 9 via telephone.

One aspect of the survey examined the voters' mood toward quality of life measures.

Another aspect gauged support for extending existing sales and property taxes that go to support emergency services, both within the city and in the rural fire district surrounding Glenwood, as well as capital needs around town.

FrederickPolls found that 93 percent of those living in the city and its unincorporated fire district deemed their overall quality of life as positive. Also, 85 percent agreed that the local economy was either in "excellent" or at least "good" shape. And 73 percent of those responding believed they received positive resources in return for their tax dollars.

When evaluating the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, as well as its EMS and paramedic services, potential voters unequivocally supported their first responders. In fact, according to the survey, the majority shared "intense, positive evaluations" of its emergency personnel's performance.

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Both the job rating of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department and the quality of the city's EMS and paramedic services both earned A grades with scores in the 90s.

"I am very pleased and proud that the survey results show large support for our fire department and its services," Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa said. "In addition, the survey response that indicated 93 percent of our residents rated our quality of life as either excellent or good is encouraging."

When asked, yes or no, whether or not one would vote to "continue an expiring property tax for 20 more years that pays for firefighters, EMS paramedics, other fire district personnel, and the cost of operating fire stations and life-saving equipment," a resounding 81 percent of voters polled answered yes, if it would renew the expiring tax that equals out at a rate of $1.20 per month for every $100,000 of property value.

Voters, however, were not as warm to the idea of renewing but also increasing the GSFD property tax, "so that the total paid to Glenwood Springs Fire and Rescue District for 20 years equaled $3.60 per month" for every $100,000 of value. Still, a majority 56 percent of voters said they would support such an operations increase.

According to the survey, those polled also would support the Glenwood Springs Fire and Rescue District property tax set to expire in two years which costs $2.70 per month for every $100,000 of property value.

Although a bit lower, 76 percent of those surveyed still deemed this renewal necessary. Potential voters, however, were evenly conflicted at 46 percent when asked, "If the GSFD property tax was continued and increased for a 20-year period at a cost of $3.90 per month" for every $100,000 of property value, "would you vote yes or no on this?"

While potential voters were certainly pleased with their first responders, things got bumpy when the poll took a turn to exploring the city's streets.

"I was not surprised that 57 percent of our residents had a negative view of the condition of our streets," Figueroa said. "I am hopeful that we can begin to turn that around with a more aggressive street maintenance program and a long-term reconstruction plan for many of our failed streets."

The city is weighing whether to put questions on the fall ballot extending the existing fire/EMS measures, and possibly adding an increase to the dedicated portion of the city sales tax that goes to fund streets. The city also may consider a new tourism attractions tax for the April 2019 ballot, depending on the results of the fall tax measures.