Letter: Second roads IGA
To the editor:
The Pueblo West metro board has just recently negotiated a second intergovernmental roads agreement (IGA) with Pueblo County. Pursuant to this new agreement, the county will provide labor and equipment to chip seal 15 miles of metro district roads per year — that’s it, labor and equipment, 15 miles per year. The metro district will pay for all chip seal materials, and perform and pay for all associated and any and all other district road work.
Metro board members surely can’t think this new IGA has produced substantial improvement over the grossly inadequate older IGA. It’s a wink and a nod from Pueblo County, considering the several hundred miles of roads in Pueblo West requiring regular maintenance. It certainly doesn’t appear to be a persuasive answer to Pueblo West’s road improvement needs, considering the tax money Pueblo County takes out of Pueblo West.
Extrapolating from the $4.5 million Pueblo West metro collects annually from its 20.193 property tax mill levy, we’re informed that Pueblo County collects annually around $6.8 million in Pueblo West from its 30.750 mill levy; and also collects annually an estimated $1.5 million here from its one percent county sales tax. Both are used to fund governmental services throughout Pueblo County. The county’s newly gained marijuana sales tax (amount pending determination) will add even more.
That’s $8 million and counting that Pueblo County collects annually in Pueblo West-generated property and sales taxes; and the earlier roads IGA doesn’t require the county to spend even a dime of that money on metro district roads. Negotiating the earlier IGA, Pueblo West board members back then so eagerly sought control over metro district roads in behalf of local developers that they let Pueblo County off the hook.
The only money those directors received from Pueblo County in the earlier negotiations was a prorated pass-through of state gas tax money; but it’s too little to adequately fund road work here. The new IGA mentions money only in that it requires the metro district to pay for the materials required for 15 miles of chip sealing.
The new roads agreement, negotiated by current metro board members, plainly accomplishes too little. As the metro district’s revenues and reserves are depleted – paying for their predecessors’ and their own bad deals — who’s going to pay for major metro district road work? Metro board members would say, “Taxpayers, of course;” and they’re sponsoring a May 6 sales tax ballot initiative, asking for your vote of approval.
Tell metro board members that instead of extracting more money from taxpayers, they should acknowledge their fiduciary duty by going back to the bargaining table and aggressively negotiating recovery of a fair share of that $8 million-plus Pueblo County is collecting yearly from Pueblo West citizens. If the county refuses, tell them they should hand complete control over roads and road maintenance duty back to the county, where Pueblo West citizens are already paying for it. Reject a Pueblo West sales tax — Vote NO!