River district’s 4A question a washout
GSPI Managing Editor
For the second year in a row, voters in the 15-county Colorado River Water Conservation District appear to have turned down requests to expand the district’s spending power.
Although Ballot Question 4A was winning in Gunnison, Eagle, Grand and Routt counties as of press time, the margin wasn’t big enough to overcome losses in Garfield and Mesa counties, said river district spokesman Chris Treese.
“We’re not getting enough in those counties to make up for the 7,000 we’re behind in Mesa and the 1,000 in Garfield,” Treese said.
The question failed 4,441-5,389 in Garfield County, a 45-55 percent margin.
In Mesa County as of press time, the question was failing 12,600-19,400.
The measure would have frozen the Glenwood Springs-based district’s property tax levy at the present rate of 0.25 mill. It would have allowed the district to collect more tax dollars as property values rose in the 15 Colorado River Basin counties.
The increased revenues would have been used to buy water from federally owned reservoirs, enlarge existing reservoirs and lessen the impacts of selenium from irrigation in Montrose and Delta counties.
A year ago, the river district failed to win voter approval for a mill levy override.
Treese said this year’s election results were “discouraging and heartening.” While Question 4A failed, the statewide Referendum A went down by a huge margin.
Treese and other river district officials campaigned heavily against the statewide question, which would have set up $2 billion in state loans for water projects.
Treese said some voters may have been confused by the similarity in the numbers and subjects of two ballot question.
“But I’m not making Referendum A our scapegoat,” he said.
“The failure of 4A means the river district has more to do to communicate with our constituents about who we are and what we are doing for them,” he said.
Contact Heather McGregor: 945-8515, ext. 517
River District De-Brucing
Yes, 4,441, 45 percent
No, 5,389, 55 percent