Voters wanted a change, but no new school taxes |

Voters wanted a change, but no new school taxes

Glenwood Springs voters have tossed out two City Council incumbents, and western Garfield County voters rejected a pair of school district property tax increases.

City voters are clamoring for change, but to the west, higher taxes is not the kind of change voters want.

The city vote, which ousted Rick Davis and Don Gillespie and elected Larry Beckwith and Joe O’Donnell, stems from a deep schism between the council and the community over last year’s attempt to annex Red Feather Ridge and this year’s run at building a new city golf course.

City Council was out of step with the community in seeking the annexation beyond the city’s urban growth boundary. And voters are just plain outraged at the city’s plan to seek some $12 million in golf course financing without voter approval.

With Tuesday’s election outcome and a shift in the council majority, it’s now far more likely that the golf course question will at least come to a public vote, or be scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile, voters in Garfield Re-2 soundly defeated a $4 million mill levy override question.

A $1 million override question in neighboring Garfield District 16 failed by less than 1 percent of the vote, prompting a recount.

In both districts, it appears the flavor of new taxes is not pleasing to voters.

Garfield Re-2 voters may have been turned off by a misleading campaign that attempted to undersell the pocketbook impacts of the tax increase.

They may have felt that teachers are earning a decent wage now, or they may not have bought the argument that more teachers are needed in order to open the new Coal Ridge High School.

While the mill levy override campaign was indeed marred by skewed facts, the reasoning behind it was valid.

With the opening of the new high school still more than a year away, Rifle, Silt and New Castle voters should expect to see another funding request on the ballot in 2004.

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