Editorial: Determining our priorities as a community and investing in our future
Sheli Steele, General Manager
Joshua Carney, Managing Editor
Randy Meyring, community member
Jon Miller, community member
The winds of change are blowing, and Craig and Moffat County have a couple of big decisions on its hands come November.
This November, three different districts — the school district, a health service district for Emergency Management Services (EMS), and the recreation district — will ask voters to approve mill levy increases to fund school upgrades, a county-wide EMS district, and a new recreation district in Moffat County.
While all three ballot measures are major needs in Moffat County, asking so much of voters — especially on the coattails of economic hardship from the pandemic — all at once could result in all three failing.
We’re getting closer and closer to crunch time in Moffat County with the impending economic changes on the horizon due to the loss of the coal industry that Moffat County has thrived on for decades.
Knowing that we need to do something as a community to create change that allows us to thrive moving forward and continue to grow our special corner of Colorado, we need to be united as a community and determine what our main priority is in 2021 from a community aspect.
Part of attracting new businesses and more people to our community after coal is investing in our community and funding necessary programs and initiatives, such as investing in our school system, creating a recreation district, and ensuring a health service district is in place to provide an essential, life-saving service to residents long-term.
Coming together as a community means that those three districts need to get together and determine which one is the most important to present to voters first. As we’ve said, all three are very important to the future viability of this community, but it’s going to be very hard to ask voters to approve all three at the same time.
By presenting one each year for the next three years to voters, we’d be determining what is the highest priority for the viability of the community, allowing voters to take pride in investing in the future of the community that’s given them so much.
Nobody likes to see more taxes, especially coming off of the year everyone just went through. Historically, this community has said no to any sort of tax increase, but we need to be open to change, and that starts with having an open mind when it comes to a potential tax increase.
Investing in our schools further could lead to more jobs, retaining the top teachers in the district, and allowing our district to thrive into the future, helping our children get the best possible education in the process.
Agreeing to a mill levy for the EMS district ensures that this community retains a vital service to the health and well-being of our community, which will also play a role in helping our community remain a desirable place to live. The same can be said for the recreation district, which will allow tourism to grow, potentially attracting tournaments, events and other avenues of revenue for the community, as well as serving as an incentive for families to move here and raise families.
Determining what our priorities are as a community will go a long way in developing a plan, increasing the likelihood that we fully invest in our future and make the best of a difficult situation.
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