COPs must face voter scrutiny |

COPs must face voter scrutiny

A new group, Citizens for Responsible City Spending, will make its case to the Glenwood Springs City Council Thursday night for a ballot question.

Citizens for Responsible City Spending wants a public vote on the City Council’s plan to borrow as much as $12 million through certificates of participation (COPs) to fund a golf course, a kayak park in the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers and a swimming pool at the Community Center.

Legally, no vote is needed for the city to borrow the money using COPs. And City Council members who favor the funding plan say today’s low interest rates could rise before the matter could be brought to a vote.

But to truly serve the citizens of Glenwood Springs and involve them in an important decision regarding the city’s future, especially since the golf course project would put city property at risk in the case of a loan default, a vote is absolutely necessary.

Nothing will bring out the facts and feelings of the community on the question of borrowing money for recreational amenities like an election campaign. Residents should know exactly what to expect if the city goes into the golf course business.

Residents should also decide whether $900,000 a year in revenues from the South Canyon Landfill, a convenient cash cow, should be focused for the next 15 to 20 years on paying back the golf course loan.

But the most important reason for a vote is that land to be deeded to the city by Glenwood Meadows, where the golf course is to be built, will be put up as collateral for the COPs. The city government can’t legally part with city property without a vote, yet the scenario forces future city councils to pay up each year or lose the land.

It’s well worth the gamble on interest rates, which continue to languish, to bring this question to a public vote.

The Glenwood Springs City Council should put the question on the Nov. 4 ballot and let the debate begin.

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