Omar M. Campbell: Let the people decide
I have a simple solution for the URA proposal and for the location of the justice center. The only fair way is to let the people decide democratically — by countywide vote.
Both issues involve all the residents of the county’s towns and rural areas. How so?
n URA –he proposed skimming of “incremental” taxes in the mountain area will cause a general revenue shortfall throughout Routt County as growth demands increased services. Schools in particular will be affected, as well as roads, law enforcement, etc. The URA sponsors have speciously suggested that the state would “backfill” for the school shortages. Fat chance, with the ongoing budget problems at that level. Who, pray, would bail us out for all the other county needs?
We county taxpayers, of course, because the commissioners will have to increase everyone’s taxes to make up for fixing the “blight” at the mountain for private business owners. A scary thought is that we taxpayers will be accountable for any default on the bonds issued by the URA. Despite the above, I graciously would agree for my taxes to be increased to pay for the URA — if the matter was voted in by all the people of the county. I would resent it deeply if City Council majority insists on using the state’s URA authorization for in-house approval. This would mean taxing all of us in the county without our representation or consent.
n Justice center — The local hassle about its location also could be resolved by letting all the people in Routt County vote. As with the URA, this is a countywide concern. The facility will serve people in all the other towns as well as in rural areas. Although I firmly support the west end location, I would gladly shut up and accept the downtown location if the county’s people wish to support it.
I hope the School Board, county commissioners and voters will zero-in on these issues and voice strong support for a countywide vote on both. The City Page in the Jan. 3 Today implies that council intends to vote in-house on Jan. 18 to approve creation of the URA. With the obvious conflicts of interest and ties to business, it is a done-deal as far as the council majority is concerned.
Omar M. Campbell
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