Letter: City should review how street tax is currently spent
In November of 2005, the citizens of Glenwood Springs approved to extend a 0.5 percent street maintenance and construction tax to repair the city’s streets. That vote passed by a mere 11 votes (Post Independent Nov. 2, 2005). It was estimated the tax would raise $1.8 million per year and currently raises $2.5 million per year with an additional $106,500 raised through other income streams (City of Glenwood Springs 2019 budget street tax fund). The tax increase will have generated approximately $50 million over the 20 year term of the tax.
City council now wants to increase our sales tax by almost 17 percent, which will raise $137 million. Why so much? According to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, (December 2018) the city estimates it will take $55 million to fix our city streets. What will they do with the other $82 million this tax will generate? The city promises to eliminate this increase once the streets are repaired. Call me cynical but I highly doubt any government will stop a tax voluntarily.
No current city council person will be on the council when all of our streets are repaired, who will be held accountable? It kind of reminds me of the promise city council made to never open the Blake Street gate when Walmart was built; they voted to open this past year with the opening to take place in the near future. Broken promises! If you are going up valley and your gas tank is empty, do you buy fuel in Glenwood or up valley where it is more expensive? How many of us drive to Costco in Gypsum to make purchases because it is less expensive?
This tax will make Glenwood the second highest taxed municipality after Snowmass Village, higher if you figure in the 1.5 percent TIF at The Meadows. Our city streets did not get in this state of disrepair overnight. I strongly urge the city to review how the street tax is currently spent and look at the complete budget for areas that can be used to fix our streets before they ask for a 17 percent increase.