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The original item was published from 9/13/2019 2:52:00 PM to 9/13/2019 2:52:29 PM.

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Financial Challenges

Posted on: July 31, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Jefferson County Ballot Question 1A

On Tuesday, July 23, the Board of County Commissioners voted 3-0 to authorize a public vote on whether the county can keep taxes, grants and all other revenue that it collects in excess of limits instituted from the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) and other applicable state statutes.

Each registered voter can decide this issue for him- or herself as part of the November 5, 2019 election. The ballot language to be presented to voters is as follows:

Without creating any new tax or increasing the current authorized maximum county mill levy of 21.478 without further voter approval, shall Jefferson County be permitted to retain and spend or reserve all revenues received during 2020 and expiring after 2026 (7 years), notwithstanding limitations on spending and revenue contained in the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution (TABOR) and applicable state statues, provided that, the maximum amount which the county may retain and spend or reserve above such limits in 2020 may not exceed $16.1 million (voters should be aware that due to existing spending and revenue limits in TABOR in 2019, a single-family home valued at $400,000 received a reduction in property taxes of approximately $9 a month/$105 year); and shall the county be permitted to retain and spend or reserve beginning in 2027 and thereafter an amount of county revenue that exceeds current spending and revenue limitations but is no greater than the excess local revenues cap, which continues to limit future growth as provided in resolution no. CC19-270, provided that any non-property tax revenue received in 2027 or thereafter may be retained and spent or reserved, notwithstanding limitations on spending and revenue contained in the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights and applicable state statues; and shall such revenue be used to fund the cost of county government for:

  • Providing for the safety of the public including maintaining adequate jail beds, staffing the District Attorney's Office, adequate patrol personnel, and wildfire mitigation;
  • Maintaining roads, bridges and other new transportation improvements;
  • Preserving public facilities and infrastructure including building security and maintenance; and
  • Providing services traditionally offered by Jefferson County and other Colorado county governments and statutorily required services,

With such spending to be reviewed and decided upon by the duly elected Board of County Commissioners as part of the annual budget process?

Arguments made for Ballot Issue 1A

  • Reinvesting these dollars will support critical services, including funding for fire mitigation efforts, the repair and maintenance of the county’s vital transportation infrastructure, adequate jail beds, and patrol personnel to keep our communities safe.
  • When the county reaches its TABOR revenue limit, it is forced to reject state grant dollars or cut from other programs. These rejected grant dollars are then given to other counties that are not under the same restrictions to enhance their programs and services.
  • Ballot Issue 1A allows the collection up to the maximum current authorized county mill levy of 21.478, but also gives the discretion to collect less than the full amount (by temporarily reducing the mill levy) in any year that the predicted amount of excess revenue generated by the full mill levy would exceed the amount needed for county operations.

Arguments made against Ballot Issue 1A

  • This measure imposes an additional tax burden that will be felt by Jeffco households for several years. Approximately $9 a month/$105 a year may not seem like much to some people, but to some on tight budgets or fixed income, it makes a difference. Some families cannot afford this tax burden.
  • Business property owners will see a greater increase in your tax bill because business property is taxed at a much higher rate than residential property. These additional taxes could be passed on to consumers.
  • Colorado voters put TABOR in place for a reason. Jefferson County needs to follow those restrictions and work within the revenue it already receives.


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