Summit Daily letters: 1A is detrimental to our community
1A is not the answer to our problems
Approving 1A is not a matter of life and death. However, the consistent neglect to appropriate reserve revenues available for spending and seeking grant money to solve problems like mental health, fire mitigation and child care is detrimental to our community. The authors of 1A knew it would gain a wide range of support. Even if you are in favor of just one of these concerns, you may vote yes. However, the future of Summit County does not depend on approving Measure 1A this November. There is more than enough money to fund these concerns right now and voters need to start insisting our taxing authorities spend reserves to fund crisis issues in an equitable way. Right now.
If we add up the ending balances for just general funds at the county, $19.2 million; the school district, $8.8 million; and Breckenridge, $27.9 million for 2018-19 budgets, the sum comes to $55.9 million! This is just general funds or plainly, $55.9 million available to fund these very important issues! I included Breck because they are a Goliath compared to the revenues other towns bring in, and Breck is where most visitors spend money while visiting Summit County.
At the commissioners meeting I learned that all the sales tax revenue in Breck, Dillon, Silverthorne and Blue River stays in those towns. What that means in a town like Breckenridge, is that you have a huge revenue source from sales taxes, but only the voters in Breckenridge can say how that money is spent. Breck devotes a massive amount of budget on recreation and I am grateful to live in close proximity. However, Breckenridge also spends many millions on marketing to bring hundreds of thousands of visitors here annually. Shouldn’t a significant share of revenue those visitors bring to town go toward recycling all that trash they make? Shouldn’t more of that money go toward day care to support the workers that serve all those visitors? Couldn’t some of that additional $14 million in reserve excise tax go toward fire mitigation to protect us from those fools who walk away from burning fires a mile out of town? Why couldn’t some of the county’s reserve be appropriated for fire mitigation? Why can’t the school district allocate some of their reserves toward mental health resources?
Obviously, we should have restricted reserves in our general funds. We can’t always depend on consistent revenues and there could be a serious emergency. However, if the school district, the county and Breckenridge were willing to invest just 20 percent of their general fund reserves, we would have $11 million to fund all of the 1A issues right now! And while there may not be that much available year after year, reserves have been growing since 2014 and some of that money needs to be put to good use. Appropriate some of those funds and present separate, specific ballot measures to fund what is lacking.
Rent is too high. Taxes are going up. Register and vote no on 1A!
Sheriff oversight lacking
It has been my civic pleasure in the past 70+ years to have been a human resource executive, a state court-appointed child guardian, a trained internal affairs reviewer and a school resource officer assistant, as well as sitting on five police advisory committees. I now feel compelled and saddened to resign my affiliation with the Summit County Sheriff’s Civilian Advisory Committee.
Two calls were placed to county commissioners and one formal email asking for guidance regarding the mission of our advisory committee. They never responded.
In the past two plus years, the level of openness and sharing exhibited during our more and more infrequent meetings has deteriorated to the point where our remaining members are no longer up to date with the daily operation of the sheriff’s office. We are no longer involved with promotion or hiring boards. We know there are staffing problems but dare not ask. Recently department monies were spent on buying new Breast Cancer Awareness uniform shirts for the staff. This seemed politically motivated. Why didn’t all the county departments kick in from their tight budgets and make it a community effort?
No elected position holder is perfect. But with the unique lack of reporting responsibility of a Colorado sheriff, it is incumbent that the electorate, the judiciary, the school board, the county government and all others try to be informed regarding the departments activities and policies.
Please do not take this as an endorsement for either candidate.
Thomas M. Reynolds
Summit County Sheriff’s
Civilian Advisory Committee
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