Opinion | Susan Knopf: A guide to local ballot issues | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: A guide to local ballot issues

Susan Knopf

Remember some ballot issues are community issues, but county commissioners are elected countywide.

Thank you Summit County Clerk and Recorder Kathleen Neel for the comprehensive October 2020 election publication. A friend told me he loves voting in Colorado. You sit around the kitchen table. You look over the “Blue Book” and Kathleen’s white pamphlet. Then you fill out your ballot, after you’ve made well-reasoned decisions with good information. We don’t miss the OMG moment when you walk into a voting booth, and say, “What’s that? I didn’t read anything about that one!” 

Voting is calm and simple in Colorado. I feel sad for those who are struggling with demonstrably false accusations of voter fraud. What we do works.

I hope you read the “Summary of written comments AGAINST referred Measure 1A.” That’s written by the Republicans, and Republicans posing as independents. They would have you believe we mismanaged ourselves when we voted for more taxes to pay for valuable thrifty services for recycling, mental health, fire mitigation, pre-K funding (for our resort-working poor), public facilities and the 2018 election.

I am thrilled we beat back the summer fires, thanks to our vigilant fire fighters, and the fire breaks we continue to invest in.

It’s like going to a great five-star restaurant, ordering drinks, appetizers, a great entree and dessert, and then being surprised by the bill. If you want the good life, you have to pay the tab. What’s interesting is the tab is always cheaper upfront than the damage control after the fact.

I’d rather pay for a fire break than pay to replace housing, and then see my fire insurance triple in price.

The sheriff has already demonstrated SMART, the mental health ride along program, is cheaper than a standard officer call and possible incarceration. It’s cheaper to fund pre-K, keep workers fully employed, and kids enter elementary schools ready to do grade-level material. It’s better for the environment to have recycling. And I love paying for the rec path. It’s one of my favorite taxpayer benefits.

Vote “yes” on Measure 1A: Measure 1A maintains funding for the services we value in Summit County. The Gallagher Amendment — which is also on the state ballot (and we’ll discuss it in a future column) — forces down local revenues through a complicated equation that requires commercial property owners to pay a bigger share of property taxes than homeowners. Thus in a real estate market in which residential property values increase faster than commercial values, Gallagher compels local government to seek new taxes every year, just to get the same taxes as last year. This measure seeks to put an end to that dog chasing its tail.

Vote “yes” on Colorado River Water Conservation District Measure 7A: Unless you don’t think water is very important. The Republicans complain the water district lacks direct voter accountability. If the water board doesn’t implement the plan, if they don’t use the money wisely, I have no problem squawking to the county commissioners who appoint this board. U.S. Supreme Court judges serve for life, and they have no direct voter accountability. Ridiculous criticism. We need to adequately fund those who are trying to protect our water. New technologies are emerging and we need to implement them, so our children and grandchildren have water.

According to the clerk’s office, the next couple issues show up on your ballot only if you live in the affected district.

Vote “yes on Buffalo Mountain Metropolitan District Ballot Issue 6A: Only if you like your road cleared, pot holes filled, and sewer flowing. The latest contracts for basic maintenance ran $500K over budget. Instead of hiking property taxes, the district is trying the first ever sales tax, so visitors pay the tax directly.

Vote “yes” on Ballot Issue 6B: Ballot Issue 6B is the next step in the agreement between Lake Dillon Fire and the Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District to establish Summit Fire & EMS by an intergovernmental agreement to provide both fire and emergency services within their joint jurisdiction. It repeals taxes from one fire district and levies it in another. No change in your taxes, just a change in who levies that tax. No change in service, just more efficiency and less duplication of services.

Susan Knopf’s column “For The Record” publishes Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf has worn many hats in her career, including working as an award-winning journalist and certified ski instructor. She moved to Silverthorne in 2013 after vacationing in Summit County since the 1970s. Contact her at sdnknopf@gmail.com.

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