Three more amendments deserve support
October 18, 2006
Basalt Regional Library District Referenda 4A and 4BThree years ago, voters shot down a proposal for a new “main” library in El Jebel with the existing library in downtown Basalt to remain as a satellite. A vocal group of opponents complained that there was no need for two libraries and that the facility should be in downtown Basalt. But this year’s proposal, which calls for a 20,000-square-foot library next to the Basalt post office, answers both arguments. The opponents are now supporters.This $11 million proposal would increase property taxes by a total of $22.66 per $100,000 of assessed value. We think it’s worth it, to ensure that a growing community has a 21st-century library. Vote YES on Referendums 4A and 4B.Basalt Referendum 2AAs with the Basalt library questions, there is no organized opposition to this measure. Basalt wants to raise its sales tax from 2 percent to 3 percent in order to raise money for parks, trails and open space projects.Basalt resident Charlie Cole has questioned this proposal, saying the town government should solve its potential flooding problems along the Roaring Fork, a real public safety issue, before tackling amenities like parks and trails. He has a point, but that very real problem could take years and years to solve and will take millions more dollars than a 1 percent sales tax increase will raise. Other civic improvements shouldn’t be held hostage.Vote YES on Referendum 2A.Aspen Referendum 2BThe city of Aspen wants a 0.2 percent increase in sales tax to pay for parking and transportation operations, maintenance and capital projects. A big-ticket item is the leaky Rio Grande Parking Garage, but city officials have also said that certain bus routes could be reduced or curtailed without this additional money.These are real issues and worthwhile projects, but the crises aren’t imminent, and the proposed increase wouldn’t kick in until 2009 anyway. We think the city could spruce up this proposal, perhaps for the spring 2007 election cycle, because it doesn’t make sense for one-time capital projects like the garage and ongoing costs like bus operations to be lumped into one tax increase with no sunset date.Vote NO on Referendum 2B. Aspen Referendum 2CThis question asks for voters to approve a city ordinance that would allow construction of a new and improved recycling center on Rio Grande Place. The City Council has already voted for the project, but opponents gathered signatures to put the question to the electorate. We think this is a worthy project that should be allowed to go forward and that the opposition comes mainly from neighbors. We’re not sure what the neighbors are upset about, because the project looks fairly attractive to us. And the city doesn’t appear to have overbuilt this one, as it has other recent civic projects.To see the recycling center upgraded as planned, vote YES on Referendum 2C.