Nov 012005
Authors: Drew Haugen, Hallie Woods

While Coloradans battled over taxation, a record-high number voters in Larimer County showed up to the polls overwhelmingly in favor of handing over more money to the government.

The about 55.8 percent of Larimer County registered voters who turned out voted mostly in favor of Referendums C and D. Fort Collins residents overwhelmingly approved ballot Issue 2A – an initiative that would continue using a quarter-cent sales tax to raise revenue for some city projects.

The local issue, also known as the Building on Basics tax package, is set to boost the city of Fort Collins' tax revenue by an estimated $6.2 million for the first fiscal year of 2006. It would generate for the city's infrastructure $5.6 million each following year, city officials estimated.

"Issue 2A works fundamentally to protect the infrastructure of Fort Collins as well as daring to dream to assist in community vitality," said District 6 City Councilman David Roy.

The issue is set to renew Fort Collins' quarter-cent capital sales and use tax. In 1996 voters approved the original tax, which is equivalent to 25 cents on a $100 purchase. The tax will expire on Dec. 21, 2005 and was originally used for community enhancement capital projects.

Atteberry and the City Council members support the issue as an issue of improvement to the welfare of Fort Collins.

"City Council has adopted a resolution urging Fort Collins citizens to vote for City Ballot Issue 2A," said Atteberry in his monthly City Manager Update.

Resolution 2005-111 states that the City Council has undertaken a two-year process, identifying its highest priority capital needs, totaling over $300 million in the coming years.

"The City Council strongly supports the proposed extension of the Building on Basics 2005 capital improvement sales and use tax , and urges the registered electors of the City to vote in favor of the ballot measure," Mayor Hutchison and City Council wrote in the Resolution.

With the encouragement of City Council, especially Atteberry, the possibility of 2A passing could lead to a diverse stretch of improvements that would affect all varieties of Fort Collins citizens. The implications of the issue range from road improvements to an upgrade at the Fort Collins Senior Center.

Harmony Road, one of the atriums of Fort Collins traffic, will not only be widened, traffic lights and signals will be improved throughout its stretch of Fort Collins. Timberline Road, another north to south mode of transportation, will also see improvements from Drake Road to Prospect Road.

Travel isn't the only recipient of the new incoming revenue, The Fort Collins library will also collect money to enhance the technology available to its users. The Fort Collins Senior Center will improve, the Lincoln Center will be renovated, park upgrades, the implementation of a new bicycle program, and disability access improvements.

The Fort Collins Police Services will also receive upgrades for computer aided dispatch, records and jail management system replacement project.

"It's relatively modest, but it will help the Fort Collins Police Services bring their operation more up to date," Roy said.

At the Larimer County Democrats' Election Night celebration at Avogadro's Number the air was thick with excited chatter. County commissioners, former state senators, volunteers for Larimer County Democrats, and Fort Collins residents gathered to share in the excitement of the 2005 elections – both statewide and local.

Among this crowd, issue 2A found praise.

"It's great. We need to continue to invest in our community if we are going to continue at our level of growth" said former State Senator and Fort Collins resident Peggy Reeves.

Senator Reeves, a Democrat and former member of the Joint Budget Committee stressed the importance of the initiative in fostering the growth of the Fort Collins infrastructure proportional to its population growth.

"I travel the Colorado Front Range for work; Fort Collins is a unique community. Ballot initiative 2A keeps support for our infrastructure of city services and helps Fort Collins remain a unique community," said Ed Leo, a volunteer for the Larimer County Democrats and a Fort Collins resident for 35 years.

When asked whether or not Issue 2A was increased the size and spending of the City of Fort Collins government, Loveland resident Nancy Jackson responded "we shouldn't be overtaxed, be we need to focus on building the community."

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