Voters say "no’ to bus tax increase
“We are disappointed with the results,” said Pam Holmes Boyd, spokeswoman for the Eagle County School District. “These problems aren’t going to go away. We’re going to have to deal with them in the long term. But it looks like we’re just going to have to regroup and see where we take it in the future.”
The total ballots cast were 5,300 out of 16,000 active voters. The bond question failed by 813 votes, with 1,905 for the tax increase and 2,518 against it.
The tax increase would have been lower than a current bond issue that will retire this year. The new tax would have lasted two years.
But some voters Tuesday said they didn’t really understand the tax increase or why it was needed.
“I always voted every time to support school board issues,” said one Edwards voter who asked to remain anonymous. “But not this time. I just didn’t have enough information about the issue.”
One voter said it didn’t matter because he doesn’t have any children. Another voter said she didn’t read up the material closely enough to make a sound decision on the tax increase.
Voters rejected a request to increase their property taxes by $4.3 million annually for 2004 and 2005.
“It is an increase, but we’re paying off one bond and replacing it with this one,” John Brendza, Eagle County School District superintendent, said earlier this fall.
The tax increase wasn’t just for technology upgrades and small maintenance problems the school district couldn’t fix. If approved, the funds were expected to be used for a new transportation center in Eagle.
About 14 school buses fit in the county’s existing parking space in Eagle, but the school district needs to make room for about a dozen more, said Karen Strakbein, financial director for the Eagle County School District, earlier this fall.
“We’ve been farming out those other buses, or else they’ve been in bus loops throughout the school year,” Strakbein said. “There’s not enough room to expand because there’s absolutely no land space by the administrative building. We’re looking at relocating the transportation center.”
Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 ,or at email@example.com.