Local ballot issues that deserve support | PostIndependent.com

Local ballot issues that deserve support

The Post Independent endorses “yes” votes on the following ballot questions:

The city of Rifle is asking voters to be allowed to keep excess revenues generated from the 1-cent sales tax for parks and recreation, which voters passed in the November 2005 election. Because the new tax was implemented in January 2006, officials estimated conservatively that it would bring in about $1.7 million. However, that amount is now nearly $2 million, and under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), voters must decide whether to allow the city to retain the excess money for continued use for parks and recreation improvements.We encourage voters to pass this ballot question. The money will help fund a variety of parks and recreation projects, which are needed in growing areas like Rifle.

Voters are being asked to fund a 0.2 percent sales tax increase to fund a transportation district, the money from which would be used, in part, for bus service by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA). Although it wouldn’t become a member of RFTA, the city of Rifle would collect the taxes and distribute them. The sales and use tax would not be increased by more than $450,000 in the first fiscal year, starting Jan. 1, 2007.Once again, growth in the Garfield County region is exploding, and it’s expected to continue for decades to come. A transportation district will help keep the mass transit possibilities open and the need for this will continue to increase as the population continues to grow.

Voters will be asked to allow the town of Carbondale to issue up to $1.8 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) to construct and operate two large-scale solar systems. The proposed systems would provide about 250 kilowatts of power. Voting “yes” on 2F will increase the town’s debt, but will not raise local taxes. Revenue from the solar systems will pay off the bonds over the next 20 years. And, under a provision of the 2005 Energy Incentives Tax Act, the interest on the CREBs will be paid by the U.S. government. This is a good way for Carbondale voters to approve a more efficient way to generate power for the town.

The Garfield County School District 16 is asking voters to approve a $35 million bond for construction costs to help with the increasing student enrollment that’s occurring due to population growth in the western part of the county.One look at population projections for the county shows how essential this bond issue is to the school district. Many of the district’s schools are at capacity now. Another positive aspect of this issue is that property for a new middle school has already been donated to the school district.This is a ballot question we strongly encourage voters to approve.

The Post Independent has previously endorsed “yes” votes on ballot questions 3A and 3B concerning the Garfield School District Re-2 $1.6 million mill levy increase and $74.9 million bond issue. The same goes for Ballot questions 1A and 1B, which asks voters to approve a 1 mill increase in library district property taxes to raise $2.5 million annually for renovation and expansion of library buildings and to keep a current one-quarter cent sales tax which Garfield County dedicated to operations of the county libraries.

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