We should expect more | AspenTimes.com

We should expect more

Let me see if I’ve got this right. We’re suffering through one of the worst economies that the valley’s seen in years. The state has had to cut program after program to make its budget balance. We’re in a global war on terror and an expensive “slog” in Iraq. In spite of all this, voters in the midvalley are being asked to support a variety of projects that significantly raise our taxes.

Last year, it was a $5.1 million for the newly formed Crown Mountain Recreation District. The year before it was money to buy open space. This year it’s another $5.1 million for a new library in El Jebel and a remodel of the one in Basalt.

Next year, the RE-1 School District will be asking for nearly $90 million for new facilities. The following year it will be RE-1 again asking for another $5-10 million for teacher’s salaries. Amongst all these it’s been new taxes for water districts, Pitkin County social programs, water conservation and a new lodging tax.

While all of these are wonderful endeavors in their own right, we might be wise to question whether we can continue to fund every worthy project that local government desires. We should be be demanding that these entities find more creative ways to serve the public interest.

As an example, why can’t the library be built in conjunction with: the Town of Basalt (on the Levinson property), the school district (along with a new elementary school), or the REC district’s property we just bought. Aren’t all of these really owned by us the taxpayers, anyway?

We should expect more from our local government than the petty in-fighting and institutional inflexibility we are now experiencing.

Bob Guion

Old Snowmass

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