Thursday letters: Bees, meat industry, broadband, fire district, and Workforce Center
Help save the bees, water a dandelion
Right now, as far upvalley as Carbondale — or maybe even farther — tiny bursts of sunshine are emerging from our lawns, ranchlands and public places, announcing that spring is truly here. It’s dandelion season.
The name dandelion is derived from the French, dent-de-lion, or lion’s tooth.
This perennial children’s favorite flower is actually a dense bunch of mini florets that form the most important early-season food for honey bees, as well as a myriad of native pollinators. Bees collect protein in the form of dandelion pollen, and if the weather is sufficiently warm, carbohydrates in the form of dandelion nectar. Bees dry out the raw nectar by fanning it with their wings, adding mysterious bee chemicals and enzymes, and magically converting it to honey. After consuming all or nearly all of their stored honey from the summer prior, dandelions can provide the boost bees need to keep from starving before the onset of a myriad of summer flowers.
You can help our endangered pollinators by watering dandelions, rather than poisoning them or digging them up. Your lawn doesn’t need to look like a golf green, does it? Stop for a moment and admire these lovely gifts of springtime. If you cast aside your culturally induced prejudices against these little darlings, you have to admit that they really are very pretty.
If you leave them be to flower, you can mow them when the flowers turn to “blowballs,” and they’ll be sure to come back the following spring.
President, Colorado State Beekeepers Association
Meat industry responsible for zoonosis
Now is the time to convert to renewable energies and plant-based foods. We can see graphically the pollution created by burning fossil fuels, and we can trace the emergence of zoonosis like the coronavirus to the processing and consumption of meat.
All of the jobs in these sectors can be transferred to better paying, safer jobs in both the renewable energy sector and in the plant-based food industry.
Sometimes a catastrophe mandates positive change. We can and should do this for our personal health, the future of our children and the stability of our planet.
Glenwood smart for investing in municipal broadband
I was happy that City Council saw fit to go forward with investing in the future by funding the city’s municipal broadband. In 2001 when I was on Council, we approved the build out of the city broadband. Knowing then it would take 10 years before revenues would exceed expenses it turns out by 2010 the city was making money. This was achieved even though the previous city manager and some members of council decided to derail the success by not funding needed improvements over the years and not advertising the availability to the public. Their argument being that the city should not compete with corporations. How many times do you get mad about your bill going up constantly and your service being questionable?
The present situation of staying at home due to the virus has shown the need for this infrastructure to be available to our homes. The present study shows that after 10 years the return on the investment would be around $2 million. Also, lower costs to the resident and 10 times the bandwidth (higher speeds). The city will be able to control the cost to the consumer, along with better service. I always thought of Glenwood Springs as a smart city — meaning a city that provides their citizens with the means to compete with the labor market, saving taxpayers money, not missing the opportunity that will come along with having the infrastructure in place, resulting in a competitive advantage. I never regretted listening to the city staff back in 2000 that the broadband would put Glenwood Springs on the map, which it did back then and now.
Don “Hooner” Gillespie
Fire District can’t raise taxes annually
To Mr. Cliff Dick in Rifle (“Don’t give Fire District blank check to raise funding annually,” Post Independent, April 17), I’d like to express my agreement and make a correction to an erroneous interpretation.
Regarding Colorado River Fire Rescue’s mill levy ballot issue, Mr. Dick stated that he believes the district needs the additional funding. I strongly agree with you on this. Based on the TABOR notice I received, it’s clear that passing this mill levy won’t even provide the same level of revenues the district had in 2016, and our communities have experienced considerable growth since then with more to come. The 2016 budget was just under $10.5 million, while the proposed 2020 budget is only $8.2 million. $2.2 million of the 2020 budget came out of nearly depleted district reserves, which are enough to support the budget in that manner for only two more years (if you’re wondering, I requested a copy of the budget from the district administrative director). If the community chooses to pass this mill levy, we’ll be able to restore funding to 2016 levels, adding the $4.7 million projected in the TABOR notice to the current $6 million tax revenue.
Where I disagree is your interpretation that the term “annual” in the ballot language will give the district the ability to increase taxes each year as they see fit. It doesn’t mean that. It simply means that the mill levy adjustment will be permanent, occurring each year moving forward, and providing sustainable funding to meet the emergency needs of our growing and diverse community. In reality, it’s likely the district will still have to face slowly receding revenues in the future as complex TABOR/Gallagher laws interact, industries ebb and flow, and property values fluctuate. If you’ve attended the community informational meetings on this issue, you’ll know that these factors are the primary causes of the district’s drastic revenue drops.
That ballot language was subjected to a vigorous vetting process by attorneys, consultants and elected officials to ensure that the legal meaning is as I’ve described. If you’re interested in knowing the details, contact the Fire Chief. That’s what I did.
Fire district is due for some community support
When I received my ballot for Issue A, Colorado River Fire Rescue asking for a mill levy increase, I wondered why they needed more money. So, I did some research.
First, I read the literature that showed up in my mailbox. It surprised me to find that Rifle had not seen a tax increase for emergency services in 25 years, and Silt/New Castle hadn’t seen one for 16 years. That speaks to good economic times and responsible fiscal management by our special districts.
Second, I went to the County Assessor’s website and looked at the mill levy assessment abstracts. Sure enough — our local fire department’s mill levy is less than most of the fire districts in the county, and it is half as much as the mill levy for our comparable neighbors, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.
Typically, I don’t vote “yes” for tax measures until I do my research. All things considered, I think the fire district is due for some community support to get the funding they need to protect us, and I will be proud to vote “yes” on Issue A.
Open the Workforce Center
An open letter to Gov. Jared Polis.
Only one question: When will you reopen the Glenwood Springs Workforce Center so that people can walk in and talk to a real person.
That’s the only thing some of us need to know right now.
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