There is a question on the New Castle April 6 ballot, regarding a new, 2 percent use tax applied to purchases of licensed vehicles. No one’s happy about a new tax, but considering the town’s severe budget shortfall, please allow me to lay out a few facts:Of the 270 cities and towns in Colorado, only a handful have not enacted this use tax. This was discovered during sessions on budget balancing.Property taxes provide less than 10 percent of the town’s annual budget revenue. And, as a result of a steady stream of anti-tax initiatives, residents now pay less than 68 percent of the cost of services they receive.Businesses, on which we all rely heavily for sales tax revenue, pay triple the amount of property tax for similarly valued property.Many people were calling for moratoriums on construction in 2007. Well, now it’s here – and with it a loss of 37percent of the town’s revenue. That means numerous full-time jobs eliminated, no budget for pavement repair, or mowing of parks and roadways. During the winter, staff members volunteered to plow snow; staff members continue to volunteer for meetings, projects and emergency duties.Please understand – all these are services rendered to you, our citizens.The town is very aggressive at accessing grants from mineral severance, energy efficiency, and lottery funds for parks – more than $1.7 million in 2009 alone.Please get involved – this is your community. New Castle has a long history of citizen participation. And please vote “yes” on the use-tax question in your mail-in New Castle Ballot.Frank BreslinNew Castle
I’d like to share my thoughts about my candidate of choice in the April 6 election for mayor of Carbondale. During Stacy Patch Bernot’s term as town trustee, she has demonstrated increasing skill at gathering, questioning, analyzing and evaluating critical information pertaining to the myriad decisions she has to make in the responsibilities of her job. She shows genuine concern that the broad spectrum of people in Carbondale are heard and considered. Stacy listens, and carefully weighs her decisions in the best interests of the people and town of Carbondale. No hidden agendas, no special interests, no inflated ego. She’s bright, calm and collected even in the face of chaos, and I’ve seen her run a decent meeting. Stacy and I don’t agree on everything, but because she listens with respect to all people, I believe she has the ability to bring diverse factions of Carbondale together to hear differing perspectives and have healthy, productive discourse. I truly believe Stacy Patch Bernot is the better choice for a mayor who can provide the leadership that Carbondale needs now. Respectfully,Laurie LoebCarbondale
This month, Meals on Wheels of Western Garfield County conducts an annual fundraising campaign, March for Meals. This is an important time for us to collect the money we need to keep the program running smoothly.Meals on Wheels of Western Garfield County delivers fresh, nutritious meals to elderly, disabled, and recovering individuals in New Castle, Silt, Rifle, Parachute and Battlement Mesa. Unlike other programs, our meals are never frozen and are tailored to each client’s food preferences and diet. Currently, we are delivering more than 850 meals a month.Since 1979, this program has grown through generous donations and the support of Grand River Hospital District. Grand River donates some of the cost for operational expenses, but we need donations from individuals and businesses to continue to offer meals at a low-cost or even free to clients who need them. It’s important to remember that Meals on Wheels delivers much more than a meal, but also offers a chance for clients to have company during the day, have someone there to check on them and help when something is wrong, and the chance to stay in the home. It also provides reassurance for family and friends who cannot always be there.I hope you will join me in the March for Meals and make a donation to this great program. Meals on Wheels of Western Garfield County helps people right here in our own communities and truly makes a difference in so many lives.To make a donation, visit http://www.grhd.org, call 625-6423, or send checks to Meals on Wheels, PO Box 912, Rifle, CO 81650. You can also visit Taco Bell restaurants in Rifle or Glenwood Springs to donate.Martie WisdomCEO, Grand River Hospital DistrictRifle
I am running for mayor of Silt because I see three major areas that need to be addressed. First, some say I think changing the town codes will suddenly make businesses want to apply and set up shop here. Actually I believe that Silt has a reputation as anti-business, and I want to change that. The first step would be to streamline the process for business. Ask anyone who has tried to start a business, or build a commercial building. The town code should be brought up to date and made easy to understand. Second, I want to encourage citizens to participate in their local government. We saw that people will get involved if they are asked and listened to when we worked on the new comprehensive plan. Are you interested in a food co-op, a recreation center, a new recreation district, or another project? We should find groups interested in these and other projects and let them work on solutions. Finally, I want to bring respect and trust back between the staff and the Board of Trustees. Anyone watching our meetings will realize why that is important.I realize the budget has become a topic of discussion and we are watching it very carefully. These economic times require innovation and working together. The staff and board have been doing that.Please consider me when voting for mayor of Silt and please vote.Meredith RobinsonSilt
During the upcoming April mail-in election, I am glad that Silt voters have another opportunity to make a difference in their future by electing fresh leadership on the town board. Unhealthy levels of conflict abound between some board members, the mayor, and selected members of the town staff. Self righteous posturing and ungainly rhetoric coming from the so called SOS crew of four, ( is it Save Our Silt or Stamp Out Staff?) directed towards trustees and the town staff give me pause and dampen my trust in their cause. That behavior aside, of the four SOS members, one is a young man, one is the current mayor, and two are former employees of Silt. They claim they can only save Silt if you elect one and all. One campaign promise of SOS is to balance the budget by releasing key employees and contracting out their services. Certainly in these times, the budget needs consistent review and finesse. Silt is in the same boat as many of us, i.e., balancing multiple needs with reduced funding resources. Yet one cannot afford the collateral damage of cutting key management personnel and an entire department that can enable us to prosper beyond this mess. Voting in the fresh faces of current P&Z members Bob Shivley and Mark Rinehart, the calm and balanced approach of current trustee and mayoral candidate Meredith Robinson, and re-election of incumbent trustee Bobby Hays will be the first of many steps to offer Silt a renewed and fresh path to the future.Their campaign centers around creating a more favorable business climate by adjusting to today’s recessional status. Talk to them and listen to some innovative thinking about how to better promote our currently annexed properties in this beautiful and sunny river valley, and some thoughtful ideas about a local food co-op. John EvansSilt
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A Carbondale man who roamed the world for 25 years using a stolen identity was sentenced on Monday to two years in prison for aggravated identity theft.