Steamboat Springs Referendum 1A, the ballot measure to fund road improvements, makes good, practical sense for the residents of Routt County and Steamboat Springs.
- Second-home owners comprise over 40 percent of all residential property taxpayers and they will pay their share to improve roads used by all of us. Full-time residents will effectively be paying "wholesale" for road improvements throughout the county recommended by the Citizens Road Review Committee.
- The so-called Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) limits the ability of the county to increase revenues as costs increase. Revenue growth is essentially frozen at the level of the Denver/Boulder Consumer Price Index, which is only 2.5 percent. In contrast, prices for non-residential building materials increased at a 5 percent annual rate and highway construction materials increased at a more than 10 percent annual rate in September. The county is now at a point where this disconnect must be addressed.
- We are fortunate to enjoy a robust, growing economy. However, improvements in our roads and capital facilities have not kept up with growth. Once the road improvement plan has been implemented, a minimum of $2.6 million annually will be available for other needs.
- Opponents argue that Steamboat Springs residents are being short-changed because only $818,000 annually of the $2.6 million going into the capital fund will be redistributed to the city. This supposed inequity ignores the fact that we all use county roads as soon as we leave the city limits.
- The fact that 1A does not include a "sunset" provision should not be cause for alarm. The County Commissioners are the elected representatives of the people and are responsive to the people's wishes. The county budget and county projects will continue to be open to public review and scrutiny. Our open political process at the county level has worked effectively and will continue to do so.
- In the past, we have approved the override of all county TABOR spending limitations except the property tax because we trusted the County Commissioners to be fiscally responsible and spend our money wisely. They have earned our continued trust and I encourage you to vote "yes" on 1A.