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Home Depot ballot wording debated

FRISCO – The Frisco Town Council unanimously approved the first reading Tuesday of the ballot language created for the Dec. 13 special election concerning Home Depot.Councilman Dan Fallon introduced a discussion on rewording certain sections dealing with how the money generated from Home Depot would be spent. Both sales tax revenue and the money received from the sale of the 9.4-acre parcel were discussed. “In terms of allocation, money revenues from the sale of the land should be distributed in the same way as other moneys are,” Fallon said.Assistant town manager Theresa Casey responded by saying that money raised from the sale of the property would go back into the general fund.This led to a discussion on whether or not to clearly specify certain designated recipients, as stated in the proposed ballot, or whether to leave the language open to allow for other revenue recipients at a later time.The Dec. 13 election will give Frisco residents an opportunity to vote on whether or not Home Depot should be allowed to pursue planning permission to buy and develop the 9.4-acre parcel, located at the end of Lusher Court.Fallon proposed to add new language to Section 1 of the ballot issue, which specifies designated revenue recipients such as improvement of public open space, parks, and recreational and cultural amenities, the operation and maintenance of an in-town transportation system and street and peninsula improvements. His idea was to allow the town council to spend money as needed, in addition to those already specified in the ballot language. “I think we need to say what we’re using the money for, and then use it for that,” said Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen.Based on calculations detailed in their proposal for development, Home Depot has projected $1.1 million dollars in new sales-tax revenue for the first full year of operation, and projections of about $16 million dollars in sales-tax revenue over 10 years and about $39 million dollars in over 20 years. Additional revenue would be generated by the town’s sale of the Frisco-owned, 9.4-acre lot, which was appraised in March of 2005 for $6,150,000. The final sale price of the lot will be a point of the contract negotiations if the Dec. 13 ballot passes.The council also debated the wording of Section 3, which specifies the benefits Home Depot has proposed to give the town. Benefits include a cash contribution of $500,000 to be used by the town for ball and soccer field development. Councilman Tom Looby proposed that this should be reworded to include other youth recreational facilities, if the development of a ball- and soccer-field should prove not to be feasible.During the period for public discussion, Frisco resident and business owner Gary Wilkinson disputed some of the amenities listed in Home Depot’s proposal, which include construction of a children’s playground in Frisco and construction of a recycling drop-off center in or near Frisco.”A lot of these amenities are nebulous and don’t have concrete value,” Wilkinson said.He also criticized some of the ballot language. “You have to look at why this is being done,” he said. “It’s because town staff has said, ‘Oh my God, we’re running out of money.’ But nothing here addresses that. Nothing in here guarantees that we won’t be in the same boat five or 10 years from now.”If you put this out in front of the voters, it’s not going to pass,” he added.Council decided to make the amendments proposed by Fallon and Looby, then passed the first reading of the ballot language. The second reading will be presented for discussion and vote when the council meets on Oct. 11.Voting in Frisco’s special electionFRISCO – While the debate rages over whether or not to vote for a Home Depot in Frisco, some residents aren’t quite sure how to vote – literally.The Dec. 13 vote entails a special election, and only Frisco residents will be qualified to vote on the issue. Voters must have lived at an incorporated Town of Frisco address for 30 days by Dec. 13.You also must be registered to vote at least 29 days prior to election day – which means that the last day to register to vote for the special election is Monday, Nov. 14.There will be no early voting, but absentee ballots will be accepted. The last day to apply for absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, Dec. 6. If the absentee ballot is picked up in person, the last day is Friday, Dec. 9.The polling place will be at Frisco Town Hall. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.You can register to vote at the county clerk’s office, the driver’s license office, the municipal clerk offices, specified human services agencies, or by mail-in registration forms. A registrant must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years old by election day and a Colorado resident. Check registration status by calling the county clerk’s office at (970) 453-3479.Keely Brown can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at kbrown@summitdaily.com.


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