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Home rule not worth the cost

Dick Gustafson
Special to the Daily
Vail CO, Colorado

Are you surprised?

Isn’t it amazing how “tax and spenders” refuse to accept the will of the voters? What is it about “no” that they don’t understand? Their appetite for your tax dollar and their desire to increase the size of government, and their power, is insatiable.

This new election will cost $40,000-plus. It’s obvious that the members of the Home Rule Committee and the Eagle County Commissioners don’t respect your vote.

Let’s review some of the less-obvious costs you will pay if they are successful in reversing your decision.

What parts of the iceberg are less obvious?

Even if county home rule were a good idea, which it is not, these additional costs are worth considering. Here are just a few of the costs that you will pay if your vote is reversed:

1. Salaries, benefits, social security, and health insurance for two additional commissioners.

2. Remodeling costs for two additional commissioners offices.

3. Additional telephone equipment, furniture, computers, includes just a few of the one time capital costs.

4. How much more does it cost for transportation to Washington D.C., Seattle, Denver, to lobby the Federal Aviation Administration for the airport? And that’s just for one item.

5. Costs for additional cars, travel, lodging, meals, credit cards, expense accounts, fuel, and out-of-pocket expenses for the many out-of-town meetings that board members attend every year.

6. How much does it cost for additional support staff for two additional commissioners? This includes secretaries, filing clerks, record storage, and many other little expenses.

7. Oh yes, and there is the cost of an election for two more commissioners.

If you run a business or your own household, you surely can think of even more hidden costs to the taxpayers. Most of these costs will continue forever. This means higher taxes. Are you willing to give government that much more of your money for little or nothing in return? The inefficiencies of bigger government will probably expand these costs even further.

Just think how tedious it would be to have to make a presentation before five, rather than three, commissioners. Smaller government is efficient and more accountable government. Even if the state laws for county home rule provided additional benefits to the county, the additional cost is not justified.

What would we gain?

If home rule is approved, you’ll get two more commissioners. Since there are three Democrats now in office, even if two new members are elected that are of an opposing philosophy, what effect will their vote have on a decision? NONE! If two more Democrats are elected, you will have five preconceived votes instead of three, all voting the same way. What’s the benefit? NONE!

The impertinence of ignoring the voter’s decision

Yes, there are provisions in the law for addressing close elections. This election, however, was not close. Power hungry officials who vote to overturn a legitimate and fair election are personally offensive to me. Is there a hidden agenda? Such an action of calling for a re-election is repugnant and ethically immoral, and a slap to your face, the voter.

What can you do to protect your right?

The commissioners have voted to support a new home rule election, and I personally believe that their actions should be contested in the courts and/or are grounds for a recall petition.

When your ballot arrives in the next few days, be sure to vote, and vote “no.”

If you vote yes, there will be another election. How much will that election cost?

Instead of adding two commissioners, we should vote to replace two, or maybe three, commissioners. If we’re going to suffer the cost of another election, let’s vote for something that will improve the county.

Dick Gustafson is a Vail resident and a former Eagle County Commissioner.


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