Council takes stances on 2 ballot initiatives

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— Concerned about the impact of Amendment 21 on local franchise fees, City Council has decided to formally oppose the amendment.
Amendment 21, if passed, would cut a number of taxes by $25 a year, including vehicle use taxes and utilities taxes. It could cost the city $680,425 next year, according to figures presented to council by Finance Director Don Taylor.
Though the unanimous vote passed without much debate Oct. 10, council was far from achieving consensus on another ballot questions. On Amendment 24, the growth-control amendment, council voted to take no position whatsoever.
The amendment would force local governments to develop "Growth Area Maps" that they would have to present to voters. The growth area maps would include impact studies on parks and schools in addition to a number of other elements. They also would include maps defining which parts of the city could be developed. Development in cities like Steamboat could be severely curtailed.
While some members, such as Bud Romberg, thought council should take a vote on the issue, others were hesitant to take a stand that might influence voters. Romberg, though he does agree that growth must be controlled, opposes Amendment 24 for a number of reasons.
"We've done a tremendous amount of planning and dealing with steps to mitigate growth," Romberg said. "There are so many ambiguities in the fine print of this thing that it will be tied up in court for a long, long time. It will also tie the hands of local officials."
County Commissioner Ben Beall attended the meeting to voice his opposition to Amendment 24 and to present the county's argument for drafting Referendum 1C, which would allow the county to opt out of the amendment's ramifications for a period of four years. Council voted to support 1C.

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