Aspen voters should have say in city hall funding |

Aspen voters should have say in city hall funding

The papers report Asoen City Council will decide July 11 how to finance the city hall project. Should the city issue ordinary bonds or use certificates of participation? The certificates of participation cost more, but they don’t require a public vote. Here’s why the city should issue ordinary bonds, not certificates of participation.

The difference in financing cost is immaterial to a filthy rich city like Aspen. But certificates of participation are an increasingly popular runaround, avoiding the general legal requirement that a city not incur large debts without citizen approval. That general legal requirement exists for good reason: It’s so the citizens can be watchdogs over the government’s piling up debt for which the citizens will be responsible.

The City of Aspen prides itself on forthrightness and integrity. That ought to extend to the way in which it incurs at least $20 million of additional debt for which the citizens will be responsible.

Many citizens of Aspen and the U.S. are fed up with elected elites committing citizens to large future obligations without giving the citizens a chance to weigh in. Aspen is better than that.

Maurice Emmer


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