The Yampa Valley is known for its pristine places that simply take one's breath away.
This isn't one of them.
Its outside face is certainly dignified, but on the inside, it is over-crowded and causes discontent for those people who must spend their days there. The hallway is cramped, causing ripples of movement whenever anyone has to sidle down that pathway.
Welcome to the Routt County Courthouse. With no attorney/client conference rooms, no waiting rooms for witnesses to testify, with judges having to walk down the same hallway where convicted felons await the sentences the judges will deliver, and with security measures that only loosely fit that definition, we can only consider ourselves lucky that the tinderbox bearing "1923" hasn't blown up in our face.
But the fuse is burning.
Residents who attend community meetings this week in Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek and Hayden will learn about four plans under review to expand the courthouse and bring it up to current safety standards.
Whatever the final site plan chosen, Routt County residents will be asked to vote on a bond issue in November 2002 that would fund the estimated $17 million project.
Are you checking your wallet? Well, just wait.
Child care has been an increasingly hot issue in the Steamboat Springs area. According to First Impressions, the local board that represents child-care groups in the area, a recent survey of local residents showed nearly 58 percent would support a half-cent sales tax for early education. The initiative would have to be approved by the City Council before being placed on this year's ballot, but it's something we will likely be asked to consider in the November election.
Glancing down at your wallet again? Well, wait a minute. The board of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is pitching a 1.5 percent sales-tax increase to City Council that would raise about $4.3 million annually.
The proposal calls for 65 percent of the new revenues to go to funding both air and ground transportation in the valley. Another 25 percent (a little more than $1 million) would address the city's capital-improvement needs and 10 percent would be dedicated to marketing to potential visitors. The chamber also would have to get approval by the City Council for this issue to be placed on the ballot.
We saw that quick dart to your wallet, but, as the old saying goes, it ain't over yet.
The city is looking at impact fees to pay for future capital improvement projects, and the Steamboat Springs School District will be looking for residents in its district to pay for increases to teachers' salaries.
We are not out to endorse or denounce any of these proposals at this time. It's admirable to see so many "grass-roots" efforts out there trying to determine how to pay for what they feel are important needs in the community. Voters must be aware that while there will likely be a number of initiatives on this year's ballot, others, including the courthouse project, will likely follow in 2002.
We encourage you to get informed and do some research so you can make informed decisions about what is best for this community this year and beyond.
Remember when Dad asked you if wanted a candy bar every week or did you want to save up for a bicycle in six months?
Residents are facing a similar question.
So how much do you have in your wallet?