New Castle car tax vote ties, fails
With the final count tied at 440 to 440, the town’s proposed car tax failed.
The ballot question was proposed by the New Castle Community Revenue Committee, made up of various New Castle community members, and asked for a one-time 3.5 percent use tax collected when New Castle residents purchase a new or used vehicle that requires registration.
Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico told the Post Independent “a tie vote on a question means the question fails because in order for it to pass it has to pass by at least one vote.”
If approved, the money would have been earmarked for projects that either 1) promote public safety; 2) establish a pathway to create a playing field and field house complex; 3) maintain and expand recreation; 4) support community volunteer groups; or 5) market and brand New Castle.
New Castle city council member Bruce Leland said the vote will put certain projects on hold.
“We will ask the citizen group to continue to advise us,” he said. “This would have given us additional funds, but these are things that we will still do.”
Mayor Art Riddile confirmed the town will need to pull back on capital projects and button down on expenditures.
He said that street maintenance and some capital projects may need to be put on hold and that New Castle is cutting deficit spending by a third for 2018.
New Castle, whose revenue from natural gas activity has dropped sharply in recent years, is the only Garfield County community that does not already collect this tax, which was projected to raise $330,000 annually for the town.
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The family of Rosie Ferrin has worked to clean up and make safe again the old schoolhouse in downtown New Castle. Ferrin died this summer and had owned the building that included classrooms turned into apartments for years.