Letter: Crocodile tears
Pueblo West metro district board members are lamenting the failed May 6 election ballot sales-tax-for-roads initiative. “It leaves the district with a real challenge on keeping up our roads. We may have to give them back to Pueblo County for maintenance,” one said. Another suggested that citizens mistrust government and are annoyed at the idea of more taxes.
More particularly, Pueblo West citizens are mistrustful of Pueblo West metro district government, and are annoyed by wasteful and imprudent spending by metro board members that has long prevailed in Pueblo West, spending that has favored special interest groups to the disadvantage of the rest of the community. A look at those out front championing approval of the sales-tax-for-roads initiative spells it out clearly.
Endorsements for the sales-tax-for-roads initiative came predominately from developers/builders and their allies. In fact, a committee of home builders interviewed and endorsed their choice of candidates to fill the three metro board positions to be selected on the same ballot. Two questions asked each candidate they interviewed were: 1) Will you support the sales-tax-for-roads initiative? 2) If elected, will you support lowering or eliminating tap fees – water and sewer hookups?
The metro district was originally established by a developer, the McCulloch Corporation, and it has ever since been operated to serve the interests of developers/builders, first and foremost. Look at the money the metro district has squandered over the years to advantage developers. Having once served on the metro board, I have witnessed it firsthand. Had the sales-tax-for-roads been voted in, I would not be surprised to see much of the money spent principally on roads where new development is to take place.
I don’t necessarily disparage development, but it shouldn’t disadvantage the rest of us. New development that, for example, enjoys taxpayer money to spruce up surrounding roads and gets relief on water and sewer hookups, thus burdening other citizens with higher water and sewer rates, is not fair to the rest of us. And new homes that may be priced lower because of such metro district-provided advantages are unfair competition for those who wish to sell their existing homes.
Yes, one of the first actions taken by newly elected metro board members should be to give Pueblo County notice that the county/metro intergovernmental roads agreement is to be terminated. Road maintenance should go back to the county. The county owns all metro district roads and Pueblo West citizens are already paying property and sales taxes to the county for maintenance of all those roads.