RFTA issue may return
SILT – If at first you don’t succeed, put it on the ballot again.Silt town officials are discussing the possibility of once more placing a 0.4 cent sales tax increase question to become a member of the Roaring Fork Transit Authority on the November general election ballot. The question narrowly failed in Silt by 45 votes in the November 2004 election. The question was also turned down by Garfield County voters by about 1,000 votes.”The board is considering it again and has instructed the county clerk to prepare space for the question on the ballot,” said Silt town administrator Rick Aluise. “The board wants to review the question and decide.”RFTA also made a request to the city of Rifle last week to have the question placed on the general election ballot. The city declined to put it on the ballot last year because the Re-2 school district mill levy tax and a city lodging tax questions were already before voters.This year, Rifle is asking for a 1-cent sales tax increase earmarked for development of parks and recreation on the September municipal election. City council members took no action on RFTA’s request.RFTA says that either Silt or Rifle needs to come on board as a member in order to have a majority voice to ensure the continuance of the Hogback bus service route, which runs from Glenwood Springs to Rifle.According to Dan Blankenship, CEO of RFTA, the service could face cutbacks or be eliminated altogether without additional funding.”If this (tax) is not passed, the service could go away or be diminished,” Blankenship said.However, an intergovernmental agreement with Garfield County, Silt and New Castle stipulates that the service will operate without a significant reduction in services until July 2006.RFTA has applied for a $250,000 federal grant to increase the frequency of the Hogback service, but needs $250,000 in local matching funds.Silt Town board members will discuss the ballot question again at its next meeting on Aug. 8.
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