EDP supports bond and mill levy increases

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In other business

At its monthly meeting, the EDP Board of Directors:

• Instated Scott Ford as interim director to last 120 days from Sept. 1.

• Decided to present the Moffat County commissioners with a smaller funding request to see if they still wanted to be involved, "even if in name only," board chairman Scott Cook said.

• Approved $300 to spend on Gov. Bill Ritter's Outreach Tour visit in Craig.

• Discussed measures to attract hunting season tourists to live and work in Moffat County, including giving presentations at campgrounds and advertising public service announcements on the radio and in the newspapers.

— The Moffat County/Craig Economic Development Partnership will support passing two tax questions this election cycle, and campaign so that the public is sure of its position, said Scott Cook, EDP Board of Directors chairman.

The EDP Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the mill levy bond proposals by the Moffat County School District and The Memorial Hospital during its monthly meeting Wednesday.

The tax questions go before voters in the Nov. 6 general election.

"One of the things we've talked about through the years is wanting to be more politically active," Cook said.

After the meeting, Cook considered whether EDP's decision to move into the political theater now, when the Moffat County commissioners are criticizing his organization for lack of results, is a smart direction.

"I suppose the issues are controversial, but it's about community infrastructure," Cook said. "The vast majority of people we hire have families, and they want to know about the schools. The vast majority of the people we hire also get sick from time to time."

The School District is proposing a $29.5 million bond for a new Craig Middle School building and to renovate all other district campuses with improved security, ventilation and utility systems.

TMH wants a 2.5 mill tax increase, lasting about 40 years, to help pay for a new $42.6 million hospital facility. The hospital itself expects to pay a large percentage of costs, as well.

The board heard presentations from hospital representatives on the TMH mill levy question, and former mayor Dave DeRose and EDP board member Audrey Danner on behalf of the School District's bond proposal.

After some debate, John Gray, board member and Bank of Colorado vice-president, told the room about spending far more in property taxes for a similarly valued townhouse in a Chicago suburb than he did for his home in Craig.

"I think the people around here have to realize we've been spoiled for far too long," Gray said. "We've paid virtually nothing for services, and if we do that much longer, that's what we'll end up with, virtually nothing."

The question of whether the city and county can benefit from new schools and a new hospital has a simple answer, Cook said.

"Anytime we try to recruit a business, the first words out of their mouth are, 'How are the schools? How is the health care?'" Cook said. "It's easier to recruit for places where people want to live."

Aside from the long term-benefits to the area at large, Cook did not want to underestimate the immediate boon the economy has in two large building projects. That kind of construction would bring a lot of money to Craig, Cook said.

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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