YES on 4A; help protect water |

YES on 4A; help protect water

As we continue to write about Nov. 4 ballot questions, we urge a YES vote on the Colorado River Water Conservation District Referendum 4A.

All this question does is allow the River District to lock its mill levy rate at 0.25 mills and lift revenue growth restrictions imposed by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment to the state Constitution.

It also lets the River District accept grants without them counting against the TABOR restrictions. Many know this type of question as “de-Brucing,” in honor of Douglas Bruce, the godfather behind the TABOR amendment. The amendment allows people to vote on this issue.

The River District is the Western Slope’s chief guardian of water and the only heavy-weight defender we have when the Front Range comes sniffing around for more water to divert across the Continental Divide.

More than that, the River District stores water in places such as the nearby Wolford Reservoir in Grand County and buys federal water to help maintain local control of the precious resource.

A stronger River District also would be in a position to help the Western Slope preserve the water it has with dam repairs and the lining of ditches.

The River District mill levy is minuscule. Most people hardly pay more than $20 a year to support the River District. Its total budget for 2003 is about $3 million.

Opponents always call a “de-Brucing” a tax increase in disguise because it halts TABOR’s annual lowering of mill levy rates. We believe stabilizing the tax rate and allowing some revenue growth through natural property appreciation is worth it for water.

Water is Western Colorado’s most precious resource. This small measure would do big work in protecting our water.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Kim Nicoletti and Martha Lunsky.

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