Moffat County officials express relief on defeat of ‘ugly 3’

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After the convincing defeat of Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101 in Tuesday’s general election, one word encapsulates the feelings of many Craig residents.

Relief.

“‘Relief’ is an understatement,” said Joe Petrone, Moffat County School District superintendent.

“I think many of us were relieved that the majority of those that voted in Moffat County and across our great state understood the negative impacts these ballot initiatives would have had on education and other governmental entities,” Petrone said.

Although 60, 61 and 101 offered steep reductions in taxes, many felt the measures would reduce necessary services across Colorado, and voted accordingly.

Amendment 60 was voted down by 65 percent of voters in Moffat County and 75 percent statewide.

Amendment 61 was voted down by 60 percent of voters in Moffat County and 73 percent statewide.

Proposition 101 was voted down by 55 percent of voters in Moffat County and 67 percent statewide.

Statewide figures are according to the Denver Post.

Moffat County School District Finance Director Mark Rydberg echoed Petrone’s sentiments on the defeat of the measures.

“I’m relieved, quite honestly,” Rydberg said. “I’m glad the voters of Colorado saw the severe impact that those were going to have on schools and other state functions.”

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree also dropped the R word.

“Obviously, we’re relieved,” Ferree said. “It would have had about a $600,000 impact on our general fund next year. And then in four years, up to 4 percent of our general fund would have been gone. So, it would have meant some drastic reductions in services over time.”

Ferree said he wasn’t surprised by the results.

“I thought they would go down because there was a pretty significant campaign opposed to them,” Ferree said.

Rick Barnes, a local supporter of the ballot initiatives, said the measures “failed quite tremendously,” but advertising dollars played a heavy role in the defeat.

“The opponents put over $6.5 million into the campaign. All three of these amendments would have lowered our taxes, but (voters) listened to all the scare tactics and negative ads against it,” Barnes said.

Barnes acknowledged that the measures may have been “a little too drastic,” but he remains staunchly in favor of Proposition 101, the ballot initiative that would have reduced vehicle registration fees.

“When they passed that bill to increase them, everybody was mad as heck at how they did it,” Barnes said of the state’s past increase of registration fees. “Evidently, people forgot how mad they were.”

In the meantime, opponents of the measures are free to celebrate their victory, but — if Jim Ferree’s sentiments are any indication — there might be few takers.

“Relief is a better word than celebration,” Ferree said. “I wasn’t dancing on the tables, but I was relieved.”

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