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Tax rejection could stall plans

Greg Massé

Large projects planned for Glenwood Springs could be stalled or scrapped entirely as a result of city voters’ rejection of a 12-cent transportation sales tax. The tax was defeated in Tuesday’s election by a mere 2 percent of the vote, with a final tally of 1,886 to 1,809. The projects, which include the extension of the Eighth Street, a bridge spanning the Roaring Fork River south of the city and an environmental impact study that would gauge the effects of relocating Highway 82 along the Roaring Fork River, were tentatively slated to be done over the next few years. “Those were the big projects that the money raised was going to pay for,” Glenwood Springs city manager Jeff Hecksel said.Ironically, voters approved a question that allows the city to bond for money to move forward with some of these projects, but defeated the means to pay back the bond. “You would think they’d both go down,” Hecksel said. The question on Tuesday’s ballot sought a 12-cent sales tax that would have gone toward transportation improvements. Half of the money would have been used similarly to how the existing 14-cent tax is used, while the other half would have been used to bond for the major projects. As it stands, the 14-cent tax doesn’t sunset until Dec. 31, 2005, so a similar question could be placed on a 2005 ballot. “At this point there hasn’t been any discussion on that,” Hecksel said. According to polls taken prior to the election, there was support for the tax among Glenwood Springs voters, but Hecksel said the list of other tax questions on the ballot might have discouraged voters from approving the 12-cent tax. The bonding question that was approved by voters has a four-year shelf life. So if a sales tax is passed in 2005, there would be no need to place the bonding question on the ballot again. Hecksel said that because the existing 14-cent sales tax doesn’t sunset until 2006, council doesn’t immediately need to deal with it. “We’ve got a good amount of time to deal with the issues,” he said.


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