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Vote yes on 2A to renew streetscape tax

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As mayor, the most common question I get is “How are things with the Town?”

My response usually includes some combination of the following statements: “The Town is doing great. I inherited a great situation where we have an incredible Board of Trustees and a very dedicated staff. We don’t have much money to fight about and we have an amazing community that makes great things happen so that the town can focus on what it does best.”

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For the hearty listeners I may pontificate on how I believe Carbondale is more self-sufficient than many Colorado towns in that for sales tax, our main source of revenue, we rely on our immediate community much more than we rely on importing shoppers from long distances. I like the fact that we can control our own destiny more this way.

Part of what has allowed us to be more self-sufficient has been a property tax dedicated to improving Carbondale’s streetscape for almost 20 years. Now the Board of Trustees is asking voters to renew it in April. Ballot measure 2A is not a new tax, rather a renewal of the streetscape fund passed in 1999 and reauthorized by voters in 2010 for the purpose of improving Carbondale’s streetscape. Despite annual inflation of project costs, the Town has made a conscious decision not to request an increase in this tax at this time. This fund is the only dedicated revenue source for any type of public works projects in Carbondale.

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Since its inception, the streetscape fund has been used to complete projects that have enhanced vehicular and pedestrian access on Main St. as well as connecting community facilities such as the Library and the Third Street Center to downtown. Specific projects have included the downtown streetscape; downtown street lighting; downtown sidewalk, crosswalks, pedestrian ramps and pavers; Fourth Street and Sopris Avenue landscaping; Third Street Rehabilitation; and planned for 2018 a new sidewalk along Third Street and Colorado Avenue. Without the streetscape fund, the Town would not have the funds to complete street enhancement projects.

If approved, the streetscape projects identified in the Town’s Capital Improvement Plan include similar projects such as additional safety enhancements, sidewalk projects and other street enhancements. Another potential use of this fund, if approved, includes adding or enhancing parking downtown. If 2A passes, the Town of Carbondale will be much better able to complete the street enhancement projects that allow our residents, businesses and visitors to thrive.

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So please join me in voting YES on 2A. If you have questions on this measure, please feel free to contact me, any of the trustees or town staff.

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