Dave Wallace: 5A — reasonable concerns

I urge all property owners to review Moffat County Affiliated Junior College Referred Measure 5A thoroughly, and keep in mind, Moffat County’s property tax rate is already greater than any of our neighboring Colorado counties. Measure 5A, which is requesting an increase in property tax revenue, should be carefully reviewed.

Though it’s not mentioned on the ballot, there has been some dialogue on installing a housing facility at the local community college, and I have a few concerns.

  • I have not seen the results of an economic impact and feasibility study. This study should be performed by an Independent (unbiased) third party, which is standard procedure to justify a proposal such as this, especially when requesting and investing tax revenue.
  • The additional $60 million in revenue over the next 30 years is 3 to 4 times the amount necessary for this proposal.
  • If the college is truly ambitious about having a housing unit, why has the Bell Tower Building not yet been converted? This facility is currently owned by the college.
  • CNCC is a member of the CCCS, which is a network of 13 community colleges linked throughout the state of Colorado. What is their position on this proposal? What level of financial aid is this network providing?
  • Why is the measure requesting 30 years of funding? If building a housing unit is as beneficial as we are led to believe, this facility should be self-supporting shortly after it’s put in service. What level of return is expected?

Measure 5A is listing five line items of justification, which basically describes the college’s general fund. There is no mention of a housing unit. The destination of this revenue is the grab bag. Only items specifically detailed out on the ballot are binding. Could this revenue request be related to the financial issues CNCC has been struggling with these past several years? 5A is requesting a property tax increase of five mills, in addition to the 3 mills currently collected. This request for additional revenue is basically setting up a funding stream of $100 million over the next 30 years.

If a housing unit is actually being considered, what is the total establishment cost? What are the expected operational costs? Is the requested five mills truly necessary?

Referring to an article in the Craig Press on Aug. 23, Terry Carwile provided something of an explanation.

“We might do it with (3 mills), (4 mills) might get us there, we feel (5 mills) would get us there.” Good, better and best.

This is not justification; this is guess work, a wishful progression. Justification based on “It might’, or “we feel,” is rubbish. The taxpayer deserves better than that. When taxpayers’ money is being solicited, the explanation better be based on hard, accurate figures. Speculation is not justification. Measure 5A is a gamble.

Public schools are the community’s strongest long-term investment. A strong and credible public school system will drive our local economy for many years to come. Rather than closing one of the elementary schools, we should be identifying issues and striving to move Moffat County School District to the top of the charts. Let us not gamble; let’s make sure our investments are in the best interest of the entire community.

Once again, I encourage all registered voters to look closely at all available information concerning the upcoming ballot measures. Be your own person, get out and vote and, please, don’t be a poster voter.

Dave Wallace


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