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BoCC opposes 60, 61 and 101

On the heels of their announcement about ballot initiative 1A (see related article), The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday urged voters to vote against three other ballot issues — Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101.

On Sept. 16, the Pagosa Springs Town Council similarly voiced its opposition and Colorado Counties, Inc. has previously voiced opposition.

County Attorney Todd Starr read the resolution in its entirety during the Tuesday meeting about the three issues — Proposition 101 (related to motor vehicle, income and telecommunications taxes and fees); Amendment 60 (related to property taxes); and Amendment 61 (related to state and local debt limitations).

In the resolution, the county claims that its ability to provide essential services has already been impacted and the passage of the three ballot measures would compound the problem by significantly reducing or restricting state and local revenues in a number of different ways.

The resolution also states, “the ability to finance long-term capital improvements like roads and road equipment, recreational projects, fire stations, and other public facilities are dramatically impaired by the restrictions on debt financing as proposed by Amendment 61.”

The resolution also notes the impact to the local school district: “Amendments 60 and 61 would slash at least $1 billion annually in state taxes, cutting in half the property tax dollars schools currently receive; and ... services and programs provided by Archuleta County and Archuleta School District 50 JT. will be limited or curtailed because of the numerous restrictions and revenue reductions proposed by these three measures.”

The resolution continued to highlight possible effects of the measures on the county — limiting emergency services, road improvements (noting that 101 would reduce vehicle registration fees to the assessment rate from the year 1919), intergovernmental agreements, and Colorado’s competitive advantage in attracting employers.

Commissioner Clifford Lucero followed the reading by saying, “This would be destructive to us all ... We’re definitely in opposition.”

With the floor opened to public comment, the first speaker, Teri Frazier, agreed with the commissioners and asked how she could campaign (the Chamber has yard signs available).

Next, local resident Bill Hudson questioned the BoCC’s choice to oppose the measures, noting that they had already admitted they misjudged voters in the case of 1A and questioned voter confidence in the commissioners.

“We do know what the heck we’re doing here,” Lucero said. “We have looked into this.”

Hudson continued to question voter respect for the commissioners, saying that the commissioners’ stance against the measures may actually cause voters to approve them.

“I’ll take my chances on if people want to trust us or you,” Commissioner John Ranson said, adding, “I’ll take my chances, so will you, then we’ll go our separate ways.”

Judy Esterly approved of the BoCC’s effort to disseminate information, saying that limiting facts limited the ability to choose and that the more information released, “the better served we are in order to make intelligent decisions.”

Esterly noted that if the commissioners didn’t try to protect the county and inform voters, why were they elected?

Voters can voice their opinion on the measure at the polls on Nov. 2.

In other news at the meeting:

• The commissioners proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

While reading the proclamation aloud, Carmen Hubbs, of Archuleta County Victim Assistance, noted that this month, especially, was devoted to increasing knowledge about date violence among teens.

• The BoCC approved to open a request for proposals to look at the option of high speed Internet and a voice-over-IP telephone system for the county government offices, an option that could potentially save one-third to 50 percent in telephone and Internet bills, according to Contracts and Procurement Officer Larry Walton.

• A number of residents addressed the BoCC about the recent work of the planning commission during the public comment portion of the meeting, and were cautioned that the planning commission had taken a “multitude” of public comments and would, at the appropriate time, bring the issues to the BoCC.

The next regular BoCC meeting will be held Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m.