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Ballot pro and con statements due to clerk

The ballot language for two potential mill levy increases have been certified to the Archuleta County Clerk and Recorder and registered electors within Archuleta County can now submit pro and con statements on the ballot issues between today, Sept. 8, and Sept. 19.

After Sept. 19, the pro and con statements collected will be compiled for the Ballot Information Booklet (blue book).

On the November ballot, which will be conducted as a mail ballot, Archuleta County will ask for a road-specific mill levy increase of 7 mills for a duration of four years, with the associated de-Brucing figure to allow the county to collect the revenue that exceeds TABOR limits.

On the same ballot, Archuleta School District 50 Joint will ask voters to fund a $49 million bond initiative that would include, but not be limited to, “CONSTRUCTING, EQUIPPING AND FURNISHING NEW K-8 FACILITIES,” with a repayment cost of up to $98,115,000.

The deadline for submitting pro or con statements to the county clerk is 5 p.m. on Sept. 19.

Statements can be faxed to June Madrid, Archuleta County Clerk, at 264-8562. Electors can also deliver statements to the clerk’s office located in the Archuleta County Courthouse at 449 San Juan St.

Statements should not mention names of people or private groups, or endorsements of, or resolutions against any ballot issue.

Each statement must be signed by a registered Archuleta County voter to be accepted.

The ballot issues are summarized below.

County mill levy

The county’s certified ballot language proposes to spend the approximately $2.26 million collected annually from the 7 mills (based on 2012 property value estimates) in accordance with the five-year road plan being created by consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH).

According to SEH’s preliminary figures, over $7.65 million would be needed on an annual basis to accomplish needed improvement and maintenance on county roads. Routine maintenance such as grading, snow plowing and weed cutting are not included in the estimate.

However, 50 percent of the proceeds collected from the town and any metro or improvement districts will be paid back to each entity for use on roads within that district.

The remaining funding would, then, “FUND ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE PROJECTS IN THE ARCHULETA COUNTY ADOPTED 5 YEAR ROAD IMPROVEMENT PLAN.”

If approved by the voters, the county would have one additional year beyond the four years in the question to spend the money (to account for any ongoing or delayed projects), or the money would be refunded to the taxpayers through a credit on the 2017 mill levy.

School bond issue

The school district’s certified ballot language proposes to increase the district’s debt up to $59 million, with a repayment cost of up to $98,115,000, to construct, equip and furnish a new facility to house kindergarten through eighth-grade students.

The question proposes increasing district taxes up to $3.93 million annually, though no specific mill levy is set in the question.

Instead, the language asks, “AND SHALL THE MILL LEVY BE INCREASED IN ANY YEAR, WITHOUT LIMITATION OF RATE AND IN AN AMOUNT SUFFICIENT TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL OF, PREMIUM, IF ANY, AND INTEREST ON SUCH DEBT OR ANY REFUNDING DEBT (OR TO CREATE A RESERVE FOR SUCH PAYMENT),” giving the school district the leeway to set the mill levy based on current property valuations.

The debt is proposed to be evidenced through general obligation bonds, installment sales, lease purchase agreements or other multiple-fiscal, year obligations.

randi@pagosasun.com

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