Referendums C, D meet opposition

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— Although representatives supporting November ballot referendums C and D were asking the Oak Creek Town Board for support, they were met with myriad questions and some staunch opposition during Thursday's meeting.

State Sen. Jack Taylor, along with Ben Beall and Bill Haight, presented information about C and D and answered questions posed by Town Board members and residents.

Town Board members Mike Kien and J. Elliott were the most concerned during the presentations and offered the most opposition to the referendums.

"How do we know that the money from C and D will go to education and health care like you say it will?" Kien asked. "We're basically giving you a blank check. There's no assurance there."

Kien especially had a hard time trusting the Legislature because he did not think there was any proof that the proposed monies, more than $3.1 billion to be collected from TABOR surplus during the next five years, will go to the education and health care causes that the referendums are designed to support.

"We got chewed out for not having it on the ballot last year, and we got chewed out for having it on the ballot this year," Taylor said. "But I truly believe this is the right way to go."

Referendums C and D, if they pass, will allow Colorado government to distribute about $3 billion dollars to K-12 education, health care and community and state colleges in equal 30-percent increments. The additional 10 percent of the money would go to roads and bridges, higher education and fire and police pension.

Ben Beall told the Town Board that referendums C and D could help put more money into the areas that have been cut in recent years, such as schools.

"There are going to be all sorts of repercussions if we don't pass C and D on a local level," he said.

After about an hour of heated debate, the Oak Creek Town Board was split in passing a resolution supporting referendums C and D. Board members Kien, Elliott and Karen Halterman voted against the resolution, and Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman, Bill Paxton and John Crawford voted in favor of the resolution. Board member Steve "Spike" Beven was not present during the meeting. Because the vote was split, it failed.

In other business, the Oak Creek Town Board decided to approve that a grant be written by Rodeman for water meters to be put in the town in the future.

Rodeman said water meters are necessary because they will create a more equal system for residents to pay for water.

Right now, homeowners and business owners pay the same flat fee for water even though many residents have complained that it is not fair that people who do not use as much water pay the same as those who use more.

"Since we have the opportunity to get this grant and to get the meters, we should do it," Rodeman said.

Other board members brought up the possibility of getting a new water tank built as an alternative to the meters, though Director of Public Works Jim Photos told the board that extensive research would need to be done before an idea like that could be explored.

A new water tank might be an option in the future, but for now, the Town Board decided to start getting meters put in the town.

Rodeman estimated the proj--ect could cost as much as $700,000.

"In all aspects of fairness and billing, as well as water conservation, the water meters are the way to go," she said.

Rodeman said getting meters put in the town might take a year or more, especially because the winter is quickly approaching.

The grant for the meters would have to be written by Oct. 14 for a county grant deadline and Dec. 1 for a state grant deadline.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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