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BoCC to put roads mill levy on ballot

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners has opted to pursue only one ballot issue in the upcoming November election — a roads-specific mill levy.

At a special meeting Thursday morning, the board voted unanimously to direct staff to write ballot language for a roads-specific mill levy with an associated “de-Brucing” measure to keep revenues generated by the levy that exceed TABOR limits.

The BoCC had considered three possible ballot initiatives prior to the meeting:

• The roads-specific mill levy;

•A reduction of sales tax on the purchases of automobiles, recreational vehicles and boats; and

• A use tax on building materials.

“The ballot is looking really crowded,” said Commissioner Michael Whiting at the meeting, suggesting that the sales tax reduction be withdrawn from consideration and brought back at a better time.

Commissioner Steve Wadley noted that, with the sunsetting of 1A at the end of 2011 (the final year the county will receive funding through the five-year de-Brucing measure is 2012) and the revenue decreases expected due to decreased property valuations and resulting tax, the county’s effort should be directed toward roads funding.

Commissioner Clifford Lucero echoed Wadley’s concerns, saying that the commissioners receive multiple calls daily about road conditions.

“Mag chloride could possibly be a thing of the past,” Lucero added.

Lucero said in a later interview that he and his fellow commissioners focused primarily on not “overloading” the ballot in choosing to pursue only one initiative.

“This is a very, very important issue,” Lucero said in the interview, adding, “Constituents have spoken loud and clear; they want the roads to be addressed, and we believe a mill levy for a short period of time will allow us to prove we can get the work done that needs to be done.”

Lucero also pointed out that the county would have a blueprint for needed road work in the county when officials receive the five-year road plan currently being created by Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc.

Lucero added that the BoCC looked more at not overloading the ballot than at combinations of initiatives (for example, the mill levy and the sales tax reduction).

County Administrator Greg Schulte said staff is currently working to compose the ballot language by Aug. 31 (to give the BoCC time to approve the language by the Sept. 2 deadline), but neither Schulte nor Lucero offered a firm date as to when the number of mills the county would seek through the initiative would be determined.

The BoCC has scheduled a special meeting for Aug. 31 to approve the ballot language via resolution. Resolutions certifying ballot questions are due to the Archuleta County Clerk by Sept. 2.

Following the certified ballot questions, pros and cons will be sought for each measure between Sept. 8 and 20.

In addition to the county’s mill levy increase, Archuleta School District 50 Jt. has pledged to place a bond issue for a consolidated campus on the November ballot.

randi@pagosasun.com

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