Summit Daily letters: Support FitzSimons and 6A, but not 1A
October 3, 2018
Vote yes on 6A
As voters living within the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District (Operating jointly with Copper Mountain Fire as Summit Fire & EMS), we have the opportunity to ensure our emergency services continue to be funded appropriately through Referendum 6A. This Referendum addresses the Gallagher Amendment of the Colorado Constitution which, while well intended, reduces the amount of residential property taxes special districts can collect from property owners.
Eighty-eight percent of our budgets are generated by collecting property taxes. Therefore, any decrease in the collection of property taxes can have a devastating impact. Unlike school districts, we cannot appeal to the state for additional funds to provide these services.
In 2018 alone, the fire district budget lost $552,000, and the 2019 projections indicate another $733,000 reduction in property-tax revenue. These automatic cuts have precluded the district from collecting what amounts to $36 a year on a home valued at $500,000.
Voter approval will allow firefighters to maintain a realistic annual budget to meet the district's fire protection, wildfire readiness, and emergency service needs.
I think it's most important to note that a YES vote for Referendum 6A will not increase your tax burden. We are simply requesting the ability to continue collecting the current, voter approved, amounts in place. This small investment will pay vital, perhaps life-saving returns for you, your home, your family and your community.
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Summit Fire & EMS board member
Tax and spend
Recently I looked into the job performance of our three Summit County Commissioners. The results were disappointing. In 2013 our county's annual budget was about $74 million. This year it's $96 million, about 30 percent higher in just five years. With an improving economy, Summit County tax collections and spending continue to soar as property values and new developments drive property tax collections higher and higher. On top of that, as reported in the Summit Daily, sales tax collections are also breaking new records. Apparently, that's not enough; I guess it's never enough. Our commissioners now come with a sad story that they can't possibly get by on an annual budget of nearly $100 million. They want more of your money, and Measure 1A is their answer. Wrapped in a deceptive package of promised fire mitigation spending, dig a little deeper and one finds that Measure 1A results in a massive property tax hike that has little to do with forest fires. As existing budgeted line items are replaced by new and hoped for 'special' 1A taxes, money would be freed up to fuel our county commissioners' spend thrift ways. Spending it any way they want. With county unemployment effectively at zero percent do we really need a flood of new social welfare spending? With the cost of home ownership and rent already too high, do we really need to extract new 1A property taxes from Summit County families in the form of higher mortgage and rent payments? I don't think so. As an alternative, lets ask our county commissioners to do their jobs by establishing and achieving key priorities within the limits of our large and growing tax revenues. After all, not long ago they voted to increase their own pay and benefits; so it's OK that we ask them to earn it, right? If for some reason they are unable to improve their performance, lets seek replacements with a more practical view of the scope of local government. By taking a more sensible and disciplined approach to managing Summit County's finances we can easily avoid an endless cycle of taxing and spending. Join me in voting NO on 1A.
Elect Sheriff FitSimons
Rarely in my 40 years in Summit County do I publicly endorse a candidate, but these days we have learned we need to speak up, and that today in politics there is good and bad. Sherrif Fitzsimoms is a rare man, s good and caring man , and in these days of police power, he is a very caring and kind individual even and makes our county a better place. His opponent believes in "dirty politics " and I hope we all have had enough of that.
Empathy is a word we need to put first when putting people in power. Sheriff FitzSimoms is the man we all need to elect.
Karyn and Sal Contino
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