Hayden group wants tax increase | CraigDailyPress.com

Hayden group wants tax increase

Hayden committee urges residents to vote yes on Referendum 3B

Jack Weinstein

— A committee in Hayden is urging residents to vote yes on a property tax increase that would generate $321,473 for the school district.

Citizens for Referendum 3B, the committee promoting the ballot measure Hayden School District voters will consider next month, has been meeting with local community groups in town, Hayden School District Superintendent and committee member Mike Luppes said.

Luppes said the committee has taken a grass-roots approach to getting the word out about Referendum 3B. He said district funds can't be used on the campaign, so the committee has raised some money of its own. In addition to its presentations to local groups, he said the committee plans to provide information to residents by phone and by going door to door.

"Our referendum, we like to think, is pretty straightforward," Luppes said. "It's more of a philosophical decision for people (about) what value they place on education."

Hayden School Board Presi­dent Brian Hoza said board members decided to ask voters to consider a property tax increase because of the cuts the district had to make this year and the cuts it expects to make in upcoming years.

The district cut about $420,000 from the 2010-11 general fund, Finance Director Jnl Linsacum said. She said the cut was necessary because of a 6.35 percent reduction in state funding, increased costs of employee health insurance and retirement benefits, a salary step increase for employees and a projected 16 fewer students.

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Linsacum said the district was able to make the cuts by restructuring its administration, increasing some student fees, contracting bus maintenance and inspections services to Moffat County School District, reducing staff positions and implementing three furlough days.

Hoza said this year's cuts were mostly away from the classroom. He said the district might not be able to do that again if more cuts loom, something it expects.

"I think that our focus is to help the community to understand the gravity of the current situation and how detrimental another round of cuts will be to the district," Hoza said. "And to help them understand that it's absolutely essential to have the maximum support of the community to be able to soften the impact. We'll continue to do the best we can with the resources we have, but we're already stripped down to a minimal budget. More cuts would be a major impact."

Hoza said revenue from the property tax increase would allow the district to keep class sizes small, preserve faculty and staff compensation levels and maintain existing facilities and equipment.

He said the last time the district asked the community to approve a property tax increase occurred eight years ago.

Linsacum said the property tax increase would cost homeowners $24.79 per $100,000 of assessed residential value. She said it would cost $90.31 per $100,000 of assessed commercial property value.

The property tax increase would expire after four years.

"We wanted to make it as easy for our citizenship to vote yes for," Luppes said.

The neighboring South Routt School District also is asking its voters to approve a property tax increase next month that would generate $354,357 a year.

Ballot language

Referendum 3B

Shall Hayden School District No. RE-1, Routt County, Colorado, taxes be increased $321,473 annually for the 2010-11 budget year and each budget year thereafter for four (4) years, to provide additional local property tax revenues for educational purposes, including and limited to maintaining small class sizes, attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers and staff and to provide adequate maintenance, upgrades, and renovation of facilities and equipment, by imposing an additional annual property tax levy at a rate sufficient to produce the amount specified above, which taxes shall be deposited into and expended from the general fund of the school district and shall be in addition to the property taxes that otherwise would be levied for the general fund, shall be independent of any other tax levy whether or not approved revenue change that may be collected and spent without further voter approval notwithstanding the limitations of Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law?

Request a presentation

Community groups that would like a presentation from Citizens for Referendum 3B can call Mike Luppes at 970-846-4062. Anyone interested in volunteering for the committee also can call Luppes.

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