TABOR comment deadline falls Friday
Friday is the deadline for comment on financial ballot issues on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Those interested in submitting comments to be included in TABOR notices must send them to the specifically designated election official for each district, said Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton.
Several state and county ballot questions, including a school district one, will appear on the Eagle County Ballot this Nov. 4 election.
“It’s important that people have time to research and compose their comments,” Simonton said. “People’s comments on TABOR questions help the public to get both perspectives on an issue, the pros and cons. In many instances, it helps clarify the ballot language, which can tend to be legal language.”
Colorado election law allows any voter to submit written comments about the financial ballot issues that will be decided in the elections. These comments are then summarized and mailed to all registered voters before the elections. The comments may be either for or against the proposed ballot issue.
The TABOR notices have to be produced and mailed no later than Oct. 3, Simonton said.
School tax rate dropping
Included on the county ballot this fall is the Eagle County School District Special building and technology fund property tax question to increase taxes $4.3 million annually.
“If this question is approved, taxpayers will see a smaller decrease in their property taxes,” said Pam Holmes Boyd, spokeswoman for the school district.
If successful, local taxpayers will see a reduction of $31 per $100,000 of market value. That means, if your home is worth $400,000, the tax reduction will be $124. If the question is not approved, taxpayers will see a reduction of $52 per $100,000 of market value – for that same $400,000 home, you would see a tax reduction of $208.
One of the motivating factors to put the question on the ballot this year, Boyd said, is this fall presents a window of opportunity because in December the district will make its final payment on its 1992 bond issue.
“A new mill levy can be presented to the voters this fall which will in essence replace the retired debt without raising current tax levels,” she added.
This December, the total school district debt is going from $9.3 million to $7.1 million, said Karen Strakbein, assistant superintendent of the school district.
“This election’s question sunsets in two years,” she said. “And in this case we’re not borrowing the money, so we don’t need to pay interest.”
What is TABOR?
Those commenting must indicate which ballot question they are commenting on and whether their comment is in favor of or against the question, Simonton said.-
“Only registered voters eligible to vote on the question can submit comments on the question, and comments must include a signature and the address where the signer is registered to vote,” Simonton said.
The last day to register to vote for this election or to change residence address is Oct. 6.
TABOR, also known as the “Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights,” was enacted by the Legislature in December 1992 to strictly regulate any tax increases on governmental entities – such as a municipality, a school or fire district.
Under TABOR, a school district can’t increase taxes without a vote of the public. Total revenues collected by the district also can’t exceed inflation growth plus population growth of that year without a vote of the public.
“If you are going to increase your tax rate or collect more than that revenue limit you must go the voters,” Strakbein said. “For example, if your taxes last year were $100,000, and your inflation rate was 2 percent and the population grew 3 percent for a total of 5 percent, you can’t collect more than $105,000 unless you go to an election and receive voters’ approval to collect more.”
In addition to TABOR limits for school districts, there’s a limit for special districts which establishes that the district revenue, spending and debt can’t grow by more than 5.5 percent – unless the voters approve it ahead of time.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submitting TABOR comments on ballot questions is Friday. Comments must be received, not postmarked, by the deadline.
Entities that are submitting a financial question on the Nov. 4 ballot (questions briefly summarized):
– Eagle County School District
Question 3A – Increase taxes by $4.3 million annually (or lesser as the Board of Education may determine) by additional levy of ad valorem property taxes beginning in tax year 2003 for collection in 2004 and 2005 to be deposited in the district Special Building and Technology Fund to construct, repair and maintain structures, purchase and install informational technology, including software and staff training, authorization of collection and expenditure of these revenues in excess of the limitation set by Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law
Write to: RE-50J
P.O. Box 740
Eagle, CO- 81631
Attn: Karen Strakbein
– Colorado River Water Conservation District
Question 4A – Authorization for collection and expenditure of revenues in excess of the limitation set by Article X, Section 20 of the state Constitution or and C.R.S. 29-1-301; begins in collection year 2004 and is for each subsequent year.
Write to: P.O. Box 1120
Glenwood Springs, CO 81602
Exact language of the ballot questions is available from the election officials.
The state has already published in its Blue Book the statewide issues. The books will be available early October
Statewide issues are:
– Referendum A – Expands the state’s power to issue bonds, up to $4 billion, to build or fix reservoirs and other water storage facilities.
– Amendment 32 – Residential property tax rate.
– Amendment 33 – Tourism promotion.
Source: Eagle County Clerk and Recorder.