I thought I might bring some historical perspective on the town of Carbondale’s finances over the last 30 years. In 1980, Carbondale voters approved a .01 sales tax increase, raising the town sales tax to .03. This increase was to provide financing for street improvements. The town guaranteed up to .025 cents of its sales tax to bond the improvements of $1,750,000. The bonds were for eight years at an average interest rate of 12.1 percent.In 1983, the town was in danger of default. The revenue and growth projections made at the time the bonds were issued fell short. Carbondale refinanced the bonds at $2 million for 15 years at an average rate of 10.6 percent and bought some time. In the same year, 1983, Carbondale entered into an industrial development financing agreement with the U.S. Trustee Company of New York, Columbia Savings, and D&R Enterprises, the owners and developers of the Crystal Village Plaza Project (site of the current City Market store). The agreement allowed tax-free bonds to be sold to individuals with returns of 8.5 percent for 10 years. The funds generated by the bond issue were put into certificates of deposit, which guaranteed a loan of $3.1 million, which was then used to finance the project and afforded the developer a lower interest rate.The town of Carbondale’s general fund balance at the end of 1982 was at a negative $59,632. By 1985, the ending fund balance was $395,186, with general fund revenues at $968,923 and expenditures at $762,042. The new shopping center had made Carbondale fiscally solvent. By 1986, Carbondale’s budget was just shy of $1 million, with a general fund balance of $434,144.At the time of the industrial development financing agreement, many argued that it was unfair to other businesses and interfered with the free market process. By partnering with the the town, the developer received a lower interest rate, making the project viable. Many asked what would happen to the existing store, and said the plan was not the best. I voted against the plan, but in the end it passed, and the new shopping center contributed to solving Carbondale’s economic problems. Sometimes you have to do something, even if it’s not perfect.John FoulkrodCarbondale
In the late ’90s the Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee adopted the motto, “Don’t change Carbondale. Let Carbondale change you.” This sentiment was backed up by results of a poll of the town’s residents that informed us that they wanted slow growth, and valued small town character. The comp plan also included a list of core values, the first being: “The town is a community, not a commodity.”It is obvious that we not have upheld these ideals, with largely unrestricted growth until it was abruptly slowed by the recession. They certainly were not upheld by past planning officials as well as many former and current trustees. I find it interesting that we are currently in the process of a new comprehensive plan at great expense to Carbondale taxpayers, when we never adopted the last one, nor adhered to its findings.It would be interesting to take a similar poll today, as I believe the inclusion of residential developments since then have changed the demographics considerably. River Valley Ranch has changed this town dramatically, bringing a wealthier class of people, many with the desire to change Carbondale. I could not help but notice that most of the more vocal proponents of VCR are RVR residents. They are ashamed of the entrance to our town and our grocery store, and wish to upgrade them, probably to more resemble the place that they moved here from.At the forum, Mark Chain argued that developer Rich Schierburg is following the mandates of the Road Map Group, and that it would be unfair to ask this developer to revisit his design. The Road Map Group existed in a different economy, well before the current recession/depression. To say that we must not be able to readjust to changing conditions is, in my mind, really stupid. We can and we should send this developer back to the drawing board to come up with a plan that will work for all of Carbondale, not just for Rich Schierburg. Vote “no” on VCR.Russell HedmanCarbondale
Area residents are exhibiting much anger and chaos of thought regarding the state of our union. No doubt about it, our country is up for grabs, giving us all a very uncomfortable, scary feeling about our future. I’m sure that’s why people are at each other’s throats. All our rights, all our freedoms, everything is on the line in 2012 and it will take all of us to preserve them. Don’t readers feel our country is being eviscerated by an amateur and bumbling government bureaucracy? They all seem to be a bunch of arrogant, over-privileged Ivy League frat boys 100 percent convinced they know exactly what’s best for us. However, they’re nothing but a bunch of elitists who lack the cajones to admit their leadership is proceeding in the wrong direction, and need to change it now for the good of our (their?) country. It seems their main objective is to maintain power and control. Socialism is not for the socialists, it’s for the rest of us. Just look what’s happening: check your pocketbook, sky-high food prices, sustained high unemployment, record numbers of people on food stamps, gas prices more than doubled in the past three years and climbing, the rejection of the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada keeping us dependent and vulnerable on oil from foreign hostile countries, decreased property values and higher property taxes, and our debt that will be passed on to our kids and grandkids.It’s got to stop. How much more proof do people need to see the destructive intent of our current administration?Do we want our life to be a government controlled entitlement society or do we want to be free to set our own destiny? Projecting another four years of the current leadership, I’m betting the Second Amendment falls and the First Amendment will soon follow. And so goes the good ole’ U.S. of A. and everything you’ve dreamed of. Can you imagine, and that’s without even firing a shot. Come on everybody out there, think. Because if you think it’s bad now, re-elect Obama and his outlaw bunch for another four years and it will get worse. You ain’t seen nothing yet.Stan RacheskyGlenwood Springs
It’s getting harder and harder to look at a newspaper these days, what with all the bad news in the headlines. Even the letters to the editors are getting stale, except for Craig Chisesi and R.W. Boyle.But I always smile when another photograph by Kelley Cox graces the front page – especially her wildlife shots. Kelley reminds us how lucky we are to live in a place of such extraordinary beauty. Thank you.And Walter Gallacher also makes me smile. His Immigrant Stories are full of inspiration and courage and they remind me of my own ancestors’ stories. Thank you.The Glenwood Springs Post Independent is fortunate indeed to have talent of this caliber. Thanks for sharing them with us.Bob UteschGlenwood Springs
As I watched the State of the Union address Tuesday, I was actually watching members of the 1 percent club file into the wealthiest country club in America – Capitol Hill. With an approval rating of 9 percent, according to one of the recent major polls, how do these so-called representatives of the American people have the audacity to show up? I and millions of Americans were watching the aristocratic elite file into the chambers of their country club. We were watching millionaires who are insider traders and have membership in the Wall Street country club. Colorado has representatives who have these memberships. At least President Obama put the tax code issue on the table. Let’s see who votes to change or reverse the tax codes. This issue has come up many times before in Congress and nothing was done. Why should the 99 percent keep carrying the tax load for this country? Let’s cut off the government that has abused us for so many years. Don’t pay your taxes this year, or at least defer them. Let’s make Wall Street, the oil and gas companies, and the American overseas companies pay the majority of the tax load. The billions of dollars they have made from tax loopholes and subsidies would take care of the deficit and balance the budget. After watching all of the GOP debates, and after watching our do nothing-president and do-nothing Congress bicker with each other now for three years, it is time to get these aristocrats out of office.It is has become very clear now that it will be up to the independents and unaffiliated voters to save our country and our government. The Democrats and Republicans are political parties of the past – the past century. Neither party has a true grasp of what needs to be done for the economy, the unemployed, the poor and the homeless. I am asking all independents and unaffiliated voters to organize themselves this election year to make our government more representative and accountable. Let’s gather in our communities, our counties and our states to make a real change. Randy FrickeNew Castle
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