The final items on the Chaffee County commissioners’ Tuesday, Aug. 21, meeting agenda – two ballot questions for the 2018 general election – could impact residents’ finances as well as the county’s public safety and economic well-being.
The first ballot issue under consideration would ask voters to increase the county sales tax by 0.25 percent to fund investments in water quality, wildlife habitat, open space and preservation of agricultural lands. The decision hinges on the results of an Envision Chaffee County poll conducted in July indicating county residents want to protect the physical attributes that make Chaffee County a desirable place to live and work.
The second ballot issue would ask voters to override Section 1, Title 29, Article 27 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, which was enacted with the passage of Senate Bill 05-152 and prevents local governments from providing cable television, telecommunications and internet services.
The statute also limits the ability of local governments to purchase, lease, construct, maintain or operate a facility to provide these services either directly or indirectly. The law effectively limits broadband access in rural areas that are not economically attractive markets for the large companies that provide most broadband coverage. However, the statute contains a provision that allows counties and cities to exempt themselves from these restrictions, and 29 of 64 Colorado counties and 66 of 270 Colorado municipalities have already voted to opt out.
Councilman Ken Lucas of Centennial indicated that obtaining an exemption isn’t necessarily easy. “Private citizens outside of government at the grassroots level bear the responsibility to write, fund and approve a ballot issue,” he said. “The process requires a lot of educating of the public.”
The agenda for the Aug. 21 meeting also includes:
• A public hearing related to a special event permit request from the Los Angeles Alzheimer’s Alliance for Aug. 31 through Sept. 3.
• A boundary line adjustment for property located at 1051 CR 200.
• Consideration of a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management designating the county as a cooperating agency for development of the Browns Canyon National Monument Resource Management Plan.