Glenwood Springs poll results: Residents rank workforce housing, road improvements as top priorities
The results of a poll sampling 309 registered voters of the city of Glenwood Springs found that fixing roads — specifically addressing potholes — and providing workforce housing to local workers in low or moderate paying jobs were the top two most important issues facing the city.
Glenwood Springs City Council approved spending $17,500 with Frederick Polls of Utah to measure opinions regarding current conditions of city infrastructures.
The poll also sought to gauge voter opinions on how to fund various improvements, with three taxation ideas presented.
A fee on developers bringing new growth to the city was supported by 71% of voters and opposed by 26%, while an attraction tax on Glenwood Springs tourist attraction tickets was supported by 67% of voters and opposed by 30%.
A sales tax increase of an unspecified size only had 27% support and 71% opposed.
Respondents were interviewed from June 29 to July 11 via phone and text invitations.
The city plans to conduct a more comprehensive survey as part of the master planning process slated to begin later this year.
Council Member Tony Hershey was the lone “no” vote against spending money for the poll. He said the poll was a waste of taxpayer funds since Glenwood Springs voters rejected a sales tax initiative during the 2019 election.
“I could not be more opposed to something like this, some sort of ‘push poll’ where this council is again trying to shove a sales tax down peoples’ throats,” Hershey said
“If I want to know what my constituents think, I read my email, I talk with people on the street, I talk to people. I owe them my judgment, too,” he added.
Hershey said the City Council wasted taxpayer dollars on the poll and is avoiding making difficult budgeting decisions to help ensure the additional funding for existing infrastructure improvements.
“We can’t afford to do fun things all the time,” Hershey said, referring to trail and city park projects. “The hard and boring things. Nobody wants to make hard decisions about employees.”
“I don’t want to spend money on wants, I want to spend money on needs,” Hershey said.
“Budget time is when I’ve been somewhat successful with discussing these issues. I would support the current street tax extension, but I don’t think anyone is in favor of an additional sales tax,” he said.
Mayor Jonathan Godes said he supported conducting the poll for feedback on a sales tax initiative and what issues residents prioritized.
“I think there were a lot of great questions asked. It helped me understand what the community wants,” Godes said.
“I know we on the City Council have a very good understanding of the housing crisis, but it was surprising and interesting to see the rest of the community by and large saw that this was one of the biggest issues in the community.”
Godes said another big takeaway was the desire for roads and infrastructure to be maintained and improved, which is a spendy task as a majority of the city’s streets would need to be completely rebuilt as many are aging and deteriorating at an alarming rate.
“It is $2.3 million to reconstruct Riverview Drive from 10th Street to 13th Street,” Godes said.
“That is the cost of less than 1,450 feet of road, water, sewer and sidewalk reconstruction.”
Godes said to pull that amount of funding from the city funds to completely rebuild other roadways would mean major budget cuts to various city departments, which could force the city to forgo maintenance to some city parks and staff reductions across all departments, including police.
“At the end of the day, if you want nice streets you have to pay for it,” Godes said, referring to implementing a sales or attraction tax to generate street and road project funds.
|Most important issue or problem in Glenwood Springs poll results:|
|Help to provide workforce housing to local workers in low or moderate or moderate paying jobs.||37%|
|Fix roads and streets.||30%|
|Replace aging pipes in water and sewer systems.||23%|
|Promote more growth and development to boost the local economy.||7%|
|Provide more recreational trails.||3%|
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or email@example.com.
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