The Pueblo Chieftan

Letter: Costly, bad deal

Pueblo West’s metro district board of directors is now asking you to pay four times for the same service. No matter how you characterize it, you’re being asked to pay four times, in four separate assessments, for Pueblo West road maintenance.

The metro board is putting an initiative on the May 6 election ballot, asking voters to approve a one percent Pueblo West sales tax, to be collected on sales/purchases made in Pueblo West. If voters approve, it’ll add to the 3.9 percent you’re already paying here (1 percent county; 2.9 state), taking the total to 4.9 percent. That it would represent a 26 percent sales tax increase is bad enough; but it would also represent the fourth dip into your pocket for money to support Pueblo West road maintenance.

Pueblo County already taps you for a 30.750 mill levy on your property tax bill; and Pueblo West already takes an additional 20.193 mills on the same property tax bill. Those two property tax assessments that you’re already paying, plus the one percent sales tax the county is collecting from you – three ways you’re already paying for governmental services – are supposed to cover road maintenance here in Pueblo West. Nevertheless, the metro board is asking you for yet another one percent sales tax for road maintenance — the fourth dip into your pocket for road maintenance money; that is, if you vote to approve it.

But wait; actually, none of the taxes you’re already paying Pueblo County — property taxes and sales taxes — are nowadays going toward Pueblo West roads, even though those taxes were originally intended to provide for Pueblo West road maintenance. No, you see, an earlier metro board gave that all up when they negotiated an intergovernmental roads agreement with Pueblo County. Eager to accommodate local developers, they entered into an agreement with Pueblo County, wherein the county ceded control granted it by Colorado Revised Statutes over Pueblo West’s roads, relinquishing that control to the metro district; but in gaining that control, those directors also gave up the money you’re already paying the county in property and sales taxes for Pueblo West road maintenance. All they got was a prorated pass-through of state gas tax money; but it’s not adequate.

So, along comes today’s metro board with a solution to the problems caused by that bad deal, a ballot initiative, asking you to make up for that bad deal by voting to pay a sales tax to cover Pueblo West road maintenance — yes, because the county was let off the hook by an earlier metro board’s costly bad deal. Tell them that you’re tired of paying for the metro district’s bad deals. Tell them to go back to the county and either demand some of that money you’re already paying in county property and sales taxes, or terminate that intergovernmental agreement and give control over Pueblo West roads and road maintenance duty back to the county, where you’re already paying for it.

Bill Clemens

Pueblo West

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