To the Editor:
I am compelled to address recent issues addressed by our local officials.
The first being the $5 a month tax on the average $150,000 property valuation. If we look at our last year's property tax statement, most of us will find that the $5 a month statement falls considerably short of the actual amount.
The maintenance and/or replacement of heating and air-conditioning systems in the existing school building was also mentioned, but it was not mentioned that approximately $400,000 was spent on a new exercise room at the existing high school. What about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent on the old Armory building when it became the Moffat County Youth Care Center, a real money maker.
These are extremely poor choices for tax monies.
The work on the new hospital has already begun, but not the funding. Is it understood that even though we cannot afford something, we will build it anyway? Surely the taxpayer will pick up the tab?
According to recent articles, new construction, i.e. stick-built homes in Colorado, are going to be on the downturn in 2008 and repossessions are projected to be on the upturn. This also will affect the local economy in job loss.
My concerns are that we tie ourselves into millions of committed tax dollars and enter a local or even larger recession.
Our local officials have confused the "vessel with the contents." It is not the new "vessel" that provides a good education. It is not the "vessel" the provides quality, affordable health care.
In the case of the Vermillion Basin; are the contents actually worth the destruction of the vessel itself?
If in fact Moffat County is making the amount of money from oil and gas leases, then let these monies in conjunction with the oil and gas industry pick up the tab for these proposed million-dollar projects, not the taxpayers.
A few years ago, I had a meeting with a now former commissioner concerning "mag water" on county roads - the county could not afford it. His entire focus of our session equated to the want for a covered riding arena at the fair grounds totally funded by the oil and gas industry. An entirely personal agenda on his part.
Local officials are elected to focus on all opinions, not just personal ones, but it seems they have forgotten who elected them.
In 2009, we can all expect our property taxes to increase considerably without any recourse.
Maybe it's time for legislation to freeze them at existing levels. I urge all voters to "just say no."
It is time for elected officials to work for the taxpayer instead of us working for their "wins."
"We the people" I believe to be the first line in an important document.
Patrick D. Calicura