Sales tax for road improvements gets negative feedback

Commissioner Don Batchelder (standing, rear) asks Ouray business owners, officials and citizens for a show of hands on who would support a county-wide property tax increase as opposed to a sales tax and property tax combination to fund county road maintenance and improvements.

Plaindealer photo by Carolina King

by Carolina King

A potential ballot initiative proposing a county-wide sales tax of 0.25 percent received overwhelmingly negative feedback at presentations the Board of County Commissioners gave to officials and business owners in both Ouray and Ridgway. The amount of push-back they received may put commissioners in the position of thinking that Ouray County citizens really don’t care about the condition of their roads.
However, commissioners seem legitimately concerned about not just the luxury of driving a smooth road, but valid safety issues like emergency access, alternative evacuation routes, addressing rock slides, the safety of school buses and accessing gas lines.
“Simply put, our roads are crumbling beyond the financial capacity necessary to maintain them,” board chair John Peters said at both meetings.
The original proposal – which was seen as the best of three scenarios the board presented to citizens in a series of meetings last fall – combined...

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