Let voters decide on how to pay for Aspen’s new civic building
“How to pay for the new Galena Plaza City Hall 47-foot offices expansion project” was the topic for Aspen City Council’s work session July 11. There are two options for financing the new building: general obligation bonds or certificates of participation.
Issuing general obligation bonds would require that the building’s price tag of double-digit millions of dollars would need to be approved by the voters. It is a state law called the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.
Certificates of participation circumvent the law (which requires a vote of approval from electors) for debt by entering into a lease agreement with the bank — which does not require a vote.
Maurice Emmer is correct in his letter “on bonds and state law” published Saturday when Maurice writes, “If city council simply decides to issue bonds, a public vote on issuing the bonds will be required by state law.”
Problem is, during the work session when council was only supposed to discuss the two financing options to be presented at a future public hearing for public comment, the council directed staff to bring forward only the certificates of participation at the public hearing for public comment.
My question to council: Can you please put both financing options for the new city hall office expansion building on the agenda for the public hearing and whichever direction you decide to go, put that option on the ballot. Or put both options on the ballot.
Thanks for being mindful that the debt you are incurring is the voters’ money.
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