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Yes on Arista local tax
Money is owed for the parking structure that serves the Broomfield Event Center, Arista development and a future RTD Park-n-Ride station—the debt is being paid using event ticket service fees. This question increases the sales tax inside the Arista development only (not citywide) to 0.55 percent (five cents on a $10 purchase) to service the debt, thus making tickets cheaper and easier to sell.

Boulder County
Yes on 1A: Green Building Loans

During a long conversation with Ben Pearlman, the County Commission’s chair, he made a comment along the lines of this: “We pass controversial policy, take some heat locally, get mocked by other municipalities, then five years later, they ask us how we did that because they would like to mimic the program.” We’re not sure if 1A will actually get mocked, but the ballot question pushed by the commission seems like another progressive act that others will be quick to follow. The premise is simple: The county will sell off bonds to raise approximately $40 million. That money will be used for low-interest loans to county home and business owners to install green construction (solar panels, for example).  The loans will be backed by property taxes, meaning the debt will stay with the property and not carry with the owner. This is a smart way to build incentives for green construction in the county without raising taxes at all. We’re guessing many of our North Metro readers who reside outside of Boulder County’s borders will be asking their representatives to follow suit.

Yes on 1B: Non-profit Tax Extension
This is the second extension of a tax that equates to a nickel for every $100 spent to help area nonprofits. Specifically, the money goes toward capital projects for the county’s non-profits, helping free up budgets to allow for more money to filter directly toward a respective organization’s cause. Since Boulder County loves to help others in need, we see this extension, through 2018, as a no-brainer.

No on 2A: Council Raises

Boulder City Council members deserve more than the $5,000 each get annually. Serving a political office, especially in such an active city, is a tough and stressful—not to mention time-consuming—job. But voters shot down a pay raise for council a year ago and should do the same this year. Let’s face it, keeping the pay at $5,000 annually instead of bumping it up to $12,000 a year won’t hurt the city in terms of luring candidates, and with the economy already slumping, the city needs to save money where it can. Revisit this issue in a year or so, and if there is plentiful cash in city coffers, then go for it. Until then, let’s save as many pennies as we can.

No on 2B: Open Meetings
Speaking from experience, elected officials who head into executive session on nearly every qualifying opportunity, and thus hold important discussions in private and out of the public eye, do so much too often. Boulder currently has one of the most restrictive open session laws in the state and it has served the community well. It should stay that way. This measure would allow council to break into executive session to discuss things such as real estate negotiations and to receive legal advice—don’t let that happen. Yes, this means discussions about salary negotiations and real estate transactions are made public when other governments can hide behind closed doors to talk about whether or not they might be paying too much for something. But those discussions ultimately revolve around spending taxpayer dollars—and the residents of Boulder should consider themselves lucky that they are privy to so much open information.

Yes on 2C: Recall Processes
This basically gives the city more time to handle the potential recall of elected officials. It’s a cleanup of procedures. Vote for it.

Yes on 2D: Lease Extensions
This gives council the power to extend the cap on leasing facilities such as parks and streets from 20 to 40 years. This will help lure potential leases and has no negative impact.

Yes on 2E: Commission Requirements
Boulder is a diverse place; it makes sense to allow its residents, who may not be U.S. residents, serve on city boards and commissions. Opponents fear a rush of illegal immigrants being named to these various boards, such as the planning commission. That’s not going to happen. This inclusive measure will likely draw some interest from immigrants here legally; those who are here illegally aren’t going to draw attention to themselves by serving the public.

Yes on 201: TABOR Reform
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights has been a disaster since its inception 10 years ago, hamstringing local governments by forcing them to return excess tax revenue to residents. This measure would allow Boulder to keep a higher percentage of property tax dollars, helping pay for necessities such as fire equipment. This endorsement comes with a caveat; city officials need to take a long, hard look at expenditures and cut some fat out of its budget, too.

Yes on Issue 202: Tax Extension
Face it, you don’t notice paying the money now, but you do notice that Boulder has some pretty good services that could use a little more cash. Boulder residents have been paying an additional 38 cents on every $100 purchase since 1988 to pay for library construction costs. This extends that tax indefinitely and would generate nearly $10 million a year. The money will service the library’s debt until it’s paid, with the balance going toward police, fire, recreation and other services. It’s a small price to pay for what it buys.

Yes on 2A: Historic Preservation

Old Town Louisville has charm, and it’s seeing a whole lot of interest from developers looking to cash in on its recent rise in popularity. As renovations and construction occur, this small tax will help provide incentives to keep facades uniform and downtown authentic. Sure, the economy stinks, but in 10 years, do you want to look at a lifetime of ugly development because you didn’t want to spend a little more than a penny on a $10 bill? Didn’t think so.

Yes on 2A: Ambulance/Fire Tax

Socialism may be a dirty word in the world of government funding, but emergency services are not something you skimp on. Because when it’s your house on fire, response times can’t be fast enough and equipment can’t be good enough. This mill levy increase would up property taxes by $125 annually for a $350,000 home. This will pay for eight additional firefighters and paramedics, and three round-the-clock personnel at an extremely busy city station.

Yes on 2B: Lodgers’ Tax
Adding a 2 percent tax on lodging creates additional revenue for the city without taxing its residents. Most surrounding communities have a similar fee in place, and if a hotel is built north of Exempla, this could give a $100,000 annual boost to the city’s general spending fund.

Yes on 2A Police and Fire Unions
City police and fire employees should be allowed to form a union and require the city to negotiate pay, benefits and hours with its sworn police officers and firefighters, as well as community service officers, technicians and dispatchers. Just because you choose to work in public safety in Longmont, doesn’t mean you should be forced to give up your right to organize.

Mountain View Fire Protection District
Yes on 4A: Fire Service Property Tax

Mountain View hasn’t received a tax increase in 17 years—now its fire trucks are running with two firefighters instead of the recommended four. For about $10 a month if you own a $300,000 home, more firefighters and equipment could be paid for. The better to save lives and property, and money well spent.

St. Vrain School District
Yes on 3A and 3B

In the past, voters have been reluctant to give St. Vrain schools more money; defeating two mill levy overrides to increase per-pupil spending in recent years. There was apprehension as previous district officials had proven themselves to be poor stewards of the taxpayers’ money. Now, St. Vrain is under new management but in dire financial straights. Cutbacks have been deep and frequent, and it’s expected that without an influx of new money, academic performance in the district will begin to lag.

There are two questions on the ballot: One is a $16.5 million mill levy override designed to restore 85 recently cut teaching and staff positions and to add curriculum; the other, a $189 million bond issue, will pay for a new high school and a new K-8 facility in Frederick while also improving numerous other district buildings.

There have been complaints, especially from Dacono, that the bond issue isn’t big enough and doesn’t include enough new construction. The reality is that the school district’s board was worried that, given the state of the economy, asking for more would hurt both questions’ chances of passing—and that was before the bottom fell out of the stock market. If you were hoping for more, realize that passing both these questions, which will only slightly increase property taxes, is the best way to keep St. Vrain Schools where they need to be staff-wise and curriculum-wise. And good schools mean better jobs, better neighborhoods and a better lifestyle throughout the district.

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1 comment

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    Excellent Voters Guide! I was able to use this Boulder County, Colorado State election endorsement as a guide for better educating myself on the issues. I felt your editors did a great job researching and I found I agreed with 99% of your choices!

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