St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District Ballot Issue 7A

BALLOT ISSUE/TITLE ST. VRAIN AND LEFT HAND WATER CONSERVANCY DISTRICT BALLOT ISSUE NO. 7A: SHALL ST. VRAIN AND LEFT HAND WATER CONSERVANCY DISTRICT TAXES BE INCREASED UP TO $3,337,003 AND BY SUCH AMOUNTS AS ARE GENERATED ANNUALLY THEREAFTER, BY AN ADDITIONAL TAX LEVY OF 1.25 MILLS (WHICH INCREASE AMOUNTS TO APPROXIMATELY $9 IN 2021 FOR EVERY $100,000 IN RESIDENTIAL HOME VALUE), FOR A PERIOD OF TEN YEARS, IN ORDER TO IMPLEMENT THE DISTRICT’S WATER PLAN, WHICH INCLUDES: -PROTECT WATER QUALITY IN DRINKING WATER SOURCES; -MAINTAIN HEALTHY RIVERS AND CREEKS; -SAFEGUARD AND CONSERVE DRINKING WATER SUPPLIES FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION; -PROTECT FORESTS THAT ARE CRITICAL TO WATER SUPPLY AND REDUCE THE RISK OF WILDFIRES; WITH OVERSIGHT BY THE APPOINTED BOARD OF LOCAL RESIDENTS AND SUBJECT TO ANNUAL INDEPENDENT AUDITS PUBLISHED ON THE DISTRICT WEBSITE; AND SHALL THE REVENUES FROM SUCH INCREASE BE COLLECTED, RETAINED, OR SPENT AS VOTER APPROVED REVENUE CHANGES AND AS AN EXEMPTION TO THE LIMITS WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE APPLY?

YES/FOR    NO/AGAINST

(from the 2020 TABOR Notice):
FISCAL INFORMATION
Actual Historical and Current Estimated Fiscal Year Spending

Year
2020 (estimated)
2019 (actual)
2018 (actual)
2017 (actual)
2016 (actual)

Fiscal Year Spending
$474,025
$519,591
$419,755
$307,535
$376,176

Overall percentage change in fiscal year spending over the five-year period from 2016 to 2020: 26%

Overall dollar change in fiscal year spending over the five-year period from 2016 through 2020: $97,849

Proposed District Tax Increase
Estimated maximum dollar amount of proposed tax increase in first full fiscal year: $3,337,003

Estimated first full fiscal year spending without the increase: $514,939

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS FOR THE ISSUE: Threats to our water quality and supply are increasing. The District’s Water Plan addresses these threats and new revenue will allow the District to leverage additional funding from private partners to meet those threats more quickly. The requested tax would sunset (expire) after 10 years, allowing voters the ability to evaluate the benefits of the District’s work and decide on the value of any tax extension. Proactive creek improvements and wildfire mitigation are far less costly than reactive disaster recovery, and the District currently lacks funding for this essential work. The District’s current property tax assessment is 0.156 mills, which generated $421,000 revenue to the District in 2020. As an illustration, the current levy amounts to 46 cents per month tax on a $500,000 residential property. This is the first time in the District’s 50-year history that it has requested an increase in mill levy. The ballot measure would add 1.25 mills to the District’s current levy and provide approximately $3.3 million of additional revenue annually, enabling the District to aggressively defend our water quality, water supplies, and riparian environment, all essential to our quality of life. This measure provides substantial community benefit at a very reasonable cost. The 2020 wildfires and 2013 flood are reminders of how vulnerable our forests and water supplies are to disaster. This small tax can be used to make our community and watersheds more resilient to these severe events. Our quality of life benefits from this life-giving valley where St. Vrain and Left Hand Creeks run through it. With a plan that includes efforts to improve fish habitat and increase water availability for local food, this tax fits perfectly with our community values. For an annual investment of just $9 per $100,000 in property value, we can generate funding to ensure high quality, sustainable water supplies. This money will be spent in OUR basin that provides OUR water supply. Our community does not currently have a dedicated source of funds to protect and enhance this critical life sustaining element — our water. Previous generations invested in water. Those investments are one of the reasons this area is such a tremendous place to live and work. The District has put forward a vision for selfless, regional solutions that provide for a desired future that we can all benefit from now and into the future. It is our time to invest in water. This is a tax I can finally support. Water shouldn’t be politicized. The District is a trusted local government led by volunteers. These selfless leaders have worked hard to put forward a plan that ensures our water will be available for our community, the environment, and local food production. Support the plan proposed, as it (1) protects water quality and water sources; (2) safeguards and conserves drinking water; (3) creates water for local food production; (4) banks water for climate change; (5) maintains healthy rivers and creeks. This is small tax that has a tremendous return on investment for current and future generations.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS AGAINST THE ISSUE: No comments were filed by the constitutional deadline.