Letter: Choose good planning over bond issue | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Choose good planning over bond issue

Election fortnight replaces a once-memorable Election Day. Mailed ballots ask us again to tax ourselves on behalf of “inevitable growth.” Was that growth we somehow didn’t plan for?

I’m not a starve-the-government guy. I fully support our local governments’ proper roles in providing for infrastructure, safety and education.

I expect all these governments (fire, school, etc.) to plan ahead for anticipated growth. I expect our land-use regulators, especially county commissioners, to make decisions that will curtail growth to what existing (not future) voters want them to plan for. Pitkin County and Aspen have done decently, Eagle County and Basalt not so much.

With planning, taxes can be collected and invested until enough is raised to make necessary major purchases. Instead, our ballot questions burden taxpayers with a bill that is almost half composed of financial costs! Our governments are not newborn and hoping to buy their first home. Do they expect us to be happy to pay whatever the huge interest costs turn out to be (up to the monstrous cap listed in the ballot question)?

As much as I support education and the need for excellent teaching, the “Bond Together” campaign looks too much like a public-relations boondoggle to me. Bond Together has a helpful but super-fancy website at http://www.rfvbondtogether.org, glossy postcards laboriously emptied from post-office trash and cute road signs paid for by a generous funding source — who?

The website says, “This is a mail-in ballot only,” but that isn’t true. In spite of consistent attempts by officials and political parties to convince you to vote by mail, Colorado still offers the benefits of voting in person, also. Many vote centers opened Monday. Those of you who are fond of seeing your vote become anonymous and counted the way you intended might turn out on Election Day to vote in person while you still can. At a minimum, enjoy knowing your envelope isn’t lost or late by dropping it off.

Read the taxation ballot texts carefully. Several governments are asking permission to possibly double the needed tax (they don’t tell how much) in order to service a debt they could have avoided with conservative advance planning.

Debt-escalated taxes also would pay for “affordable housing” for government employees. “Affordable housing” has long since lost meaning in the Roaring Fork Valley outside of a few remaining trailer parks that must be expanded. If I thought the school district would build mobile homes, I would be more appreciative.

Which brings me to the vote coming up by the Roaring Fork Valley Regional Planning Commission on the Ace Lane property. Ace is correct that longer-lasting residents among us want less growth. We want our governments to be able to plan how to use our money responsibly, and we neither trust the definition of affordable nor like his shrinking commitment to it. Planning commissioners, please vote “no.”

Harvie Branscomb

El Jebel

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