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Funding Big Straw study is wrong

(This letter was originally addressed to Gov. Owens and members of the state House and Senate.)

I have been a Basalt resident for over 25 years. As a grant reader for Great Outdoors Colorado and as Chair of Buildings and Grounds of Colorado Rocky Mountain School, I am very familiar with Colorado land and water issues.

I read with amazement a Rocky Mountain News story about the Colorado Senate restoring $500,000 in funding to the Big Straw feasibility study. I understand the water issues that Colorado is facing. But how can the state afford to fund this study during this budget crisis?

Is this emphasis on funding a water study because the east slope cities cannot survive without acres of grass? Denver is an arid high plain city not suited to growing Kentucky bluegrass!

For 10-plus years the Denver Water Board has made a major effort to educate the populace about native plants and low water gardening to no avail. A choice is being made by the Legislature to spend money on bringing in Utah water for billions of dollars so that residents of eastern Colorado cities can have gardens and lawns more suited to the East Coast.

I am appalled that funding a feasibility study is taking precedence over funding for Medicaid, housing, and programs for children, youth and families, all of which the Colorado Legislature has cut because there is “no money.”

I urge you to look carefully at the funding decisions that are being made on a daily basis and why you are supporting them. Is it because in the heat of the moment someone came up with another great idea to promote growth or tourism? How is there money for water studies and no funding to support “people programs?”

I really feel that the Legislature and the governor need to consider the long-term impacts of the funding decisions, which will affect the people of Colorado for many years to come. Without good schools, and support services for the residents of this state, Colorado is on its way to fast becoming a state no one will want to come and visit. People matter more than green grass!

I would greatly appreciate a response to this letter. Thank you for your time.

Saundra D. Swanson

Basalt


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