News in Brief
KEYSTONE (AP) – The Denver Water Board and Western Slope water utilities will try again next month to come up with a water-sharing plan that protects mountain resort communities while providing the city with more water.The two sides have been talking for two years without producing a plan acceptable to both. They are hoping a meeting in Keystone on July 13 will break the ice.”It’s really a way to build some rapport,” Denver Water Board member Tom Gougeon said. “This is the very, very beginning of the conversation.”Several West Slope water utilities joined forces last month, offering a proposal to Denver Water that reportedly offers a comprehensive plan to protect water supplies in Mesa, Grand, Summit and Eagle counties, while giving Denver the chance to develop more water projects in the high country.”This is a natural outgrowth of what we’ve all been working on,” said Chris Treese, director of external affairs for the Glenwood Springs-based Colorado River Water Conservation District. “Now we think the (utility) boards need to meet face-to-face to begin talking to each other.”Water officials said the proposal won’t be made public for now, because they’re worried the talks will break apart before any deals can be completed.Some elected officials were troubled by the decision to keep the proposal confidential.”I’m suspicious about the whole process,” said state Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison. “It leaves the rest of the West Slope wondering what’s really going on here.”
FOUNTAIN (AP) – Health officials have warned residents to stay away from a prairie colony after two prairie dogs were found to have died from the plague.Health workers went from door to door Friday warning residents.”The best prevention is to stay away from the colony,” said Don Mydlowski, El Paso County health department environmental quality program manager.Recently, the state Health Department warned that plague could be worse this year as the state recovers from the drought and there is more food to sustain the rodent population.Recent cases of plague include an infected squirrel at Mesa Verde National Park and a La Plata County woman who got sick from an infected flea from her pet cat.
DENVER (AP) – Opponents of Referendum C are taking out radio ads opposing the measure, which supporters say is needed to balance the budget and pay for essential state expenses.The campaign will dispute that there is a budget crisis, and warns that taxpayers will lose all their tax refunds for the next five years.The referendum asks voters to lift spending limits for five years to help state government recover from recession. Lawmakers would be allowed to spend an estimated $3.1 billion on health care, education and transportation that otherwise would be refunded to taxpayers under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.The right-wing Golden-based Independence Institute will blast the measure in the $30,000 ad campaign that started Saturday on radio stations, institute President Jon Caldara said.Caldara said the ads are meant to “get people prepared for the sky-is-falling silliness” that he said Referendum C supporters will campaign on.”I’m not sure what referendum they’re describing, but it’s not Referendum C … the numbers games they are playing are very cute,” said Katy Atkinson, communications director for the group that is backing Referendum C.
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The city of Aspen’s office building is exempt from paying encroachment fees, yet private developers have to now pay $9 a square foot, per month, starting in 2020.