Steamboat Springs The County Commissioners have crafted a tax increase that can keep Routt County infrastructure from sliding backward as growth continues. Gravel roads are fine for the rural countryside that defined so much of Routt County in the past. Today, however, the volume of traffic has exceeded the ability of those gravel roads to be economically and safely maintained. Existing paved roads established 20 or 30 years ago now do not provide an efficient and safe environment with the growing traffic, which includes school buses.
Currently, the major focus of this income is improving county roads 14 and 16. This does not ignore the need of other county roads and, in fact, provides a system for ongoing maintenance and improvement of all county roads. There is also the economic boost to Routt County as well as to potential residents and investors.
The proposed tax does not increase the existing tax mill levy. It replaces a decline in the tax levy that, ironically, is caused by growth. That same growth is what necessitates additional county expenditures. Practically, the net effect of growth and the proposed tax is a decrease in the county tax mill levy from 13.33 to 12.8266 mills. To place that in perspective, total taxes including schools, water, museums and others, range from 83.22 to 74.44 mills.
There is an argument that this tax proposal has no sunset - a time when the effect of the proposal expires. However, sunset provisions arise from a mistrust of our public servants to control expenditures and processes. The TABOR provisions arise from the same mistrust. This is generally the fear in large metropolitan areas. Here in Routt County, the open process and level of community interest creates an environment far more representative and responsive to change. The electors can control the future, as they do today, without approving the detail in county expenditures. The issue should be Routt County's future - not sunset.
This election we should vote "yes" on 1A.