Avon opposes Referendum A | VailDaily.com

Avon opposes Referendum A

Christine Ina Casillas
Full Diamond / THUrs Photos

Referendum A would create $2 billion worth of bonding authority, for a potential total of $4 billion in state indebtedness, to build water supply projects for public and private entities.

The beneficiaries of the project financed with the bond money would be required to shoulder all of the indebtedness incurred. If the referendum passes, Gov. Bill Owens would pick at least one water project by 2005 from a list of at least two projects in different river basins. The projects would be proposed by the Denver-based Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Many Western Slope residents and public officials have worried the referendum will allow populated Front Range metro areas to siphon away mountain water without compensation.

“You take our water now, but how much are you going to pay me for taking it?” said Larry Brooks, Avon town manager. “Taking money in search of a project seems to confound the process of democracy.”

Avon’s resolution says that an adequate financing authority already exists for borrowing money for water projects and that mitigation of the financial and environmental effects of water projects on communities on the Western Slope has not been adequately addressed.

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“It’s like me saying, “I need $4 billion but I don’t know where it’s going to go yet. I may need a hair transplant and a face job,'” Brooks said.

Avon is one in a list of Colorado towns opposing the referendum, he said. Vail has also opposed Referendum A, but Eagle County is unlikely to take a position because Eagle County commissioner Tom Stone is a staunch supporter and commissioner Arn Menconi is one of Referendum A’s most vocal opponents.

“This is an unnecessary referendum, and it’s a waste of everyone’s time,” said Eagle County commissioner Arn Menconi. “It’s a blank check to allow the government to bond for a water project that hasn’t even been selected or determined yet when the financing already exists.”

About 30 counties so far have signed resolutions in opposition to the referendum, Menconi said.

“You’re putting a credit card in your back pocket when you don’t need another credit card. It doesn’t create a solution,” Menconi said.

Menconi said that there was no need for private funding and that the referendum was “nothing but a junk bond.”

“The flaws are exposed,” he said. “All that’s left is the commercial ads to create fear in people saying that we’re going to dry up and die if we don’t vote on this issue. It’s simply not true.”

But Tom Stone has said that he’s confident Referendum A will be passed by voters in November.

“The list of endorsements goes on for six pages,” Stone said last week. “I think by and large the average person that I speak to on the street is in favor of it. Everyone knows and understands we need to develop more water storage throughout Colorado.”

Stone appeared before the Avon Town Council Sept. 23 in support of Referendum A, but Brooks said that the town had already created a resolution opposing the bill.

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.

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