(This is a scanned document and may not be an exact replication. For the Official Notice, please contact the Park County Clerk.)


TABOR NOTICE

 

QUESTIONS NO. 1B AND 1C

PARK COUNTY, COLORADO

 

NOTICE OF ELECTION TO CHANGE TAX POLICY

 

Election Date: Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Election Hours: 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.

Local election office address and phone number: 501 Main Street, PO Box 220, Fairplay, CO 80440, 719-836-4333

 

Ballot Title and Text:

REFERENDUM 1B

 

SHALL PARK COUNTY, COLORADO, BE AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE, COLLECT, RETAIN, AND EXPEND REVENUE FROM FINES, FORFEITURES AND SURCHARGES ON ALL COUNTY FUNDS IN 2003, AND IN EVERY SUBSEQUENT YEAR THEREAFTER, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY RESTRICTIONS OR LIMITATIONS UPON FISCAL YEAR SPENDING, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY COLORADO CONSTITUTION ARTICLE X, SECTION 20? NOTHING IN THIS BALLOT ISSUE SHALL PERMIT ANY INCREASE IN THE PROPERTY TAX MILL LEVY OR ANY TAX RATE OR ANY SALES TAX RATE CURRENTLY APPROVED OR IMPOSED BY THE COUNTY OF PARK.

 

 NOTHING IN HEREIN SHALL PERMIT ANY INCREASE IN THE PROPERTY TAX MILL LEVY OR OTHER PROPERTY TAX RATES CURRENTLY APPROVED OR IMPOSED BY THE COUNTY OF PARK.

 

Summary of written comments FOR the proposal:

 

VOTE 'YES' ON QUESTION 1B.

 

This ballot question does NOT increase taxes. This ballot question will permit Park County to retain and spend revenues received from fines, forfeitures, and surcharges, which would otherwise be subject to the limitation on spending set by the Colorado Constitution. 'Fines' consist primarily of traffic fines, which are set in accordance with the Model Traffic Code For Colorado Municipalities. 'Forfeitures' are a rarity in the County and account for very little County revenue. 'Surcharges' are extra charges or fines imposed by the court for specific types of offenses; an example is the Drug Offender Surcharge imposed by State law, a part of which is paid to the County. Under current law, all monies collected by the County for fines, forfeitures, and surcharges count against the County's spending limitation. This results in wasted revenues that would otherwise benefit residents. Approval of question 1B would permit the County to keep this money and use it to pay for needed services.

 

This ballot question only pertains to fines, forfeitures, and surcharges that are imposed and collected by Park County. This question does NOT apply to fines, forfeitures, and surcharges established by State or Federal law and paid to non-County agencies.

 

This ballot question does NOT permit the County to impose excessive fines. Excessive fines are strictly prohibited by Article II, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution.

 

A 'yes' vote on question 1B will permit the County to keep and spend the money it already collects without being penalized by having the revenue count against the spending limitation. A 'no' vote on 1B will result in a continuing loss of County revenue. THIS BALLOT QUESTION DOES NOT INCREASE TAXES.

 

VOTE 'YES' ON QUESTION 1B.

 

Summarv of written comments AGAINST the proposal:

 

VOTE NO on 1B

 

This will remove the spending limit on fines and forfeitures and will allow unlimited increases. How about a $500 fine for a broken taillight or a cracked windshield? All current and future fines will be unlimited. New fines can be invented to raise revenue. Voters will be assured that County government may promise restraint, but after the 56% stealth property tax increase that the County put on last year's ballot (and voters overwhelmingly defeated), trust is stretched thin. Voters have consistently refused County tax increases on property and sales taxes, but removing the spending limit on fines is a back-door way for the County to get the same revenue another way. This is shift-and shaft. VOTE NO on 1B.

 

Government becomes less accountable when fines are unlimited. Nuisance traffic stops may become routine because fines will become a significant source of County revenue. The County will have a financial incentive to issue as many fines as possible, as frequently happens in metro-area cities.

 

You lose the right to control these fines and forfeitures forever, because there is no right to petition the County. There is no sunset provision, or trial period. Neither you, nor your grandchildren, can stop these increases.

 

This is 1 of 3 Park County tax and fee increase requests on this ballot. By separating the requests, the County is adopting a divide-and-conquer strategy. County voters have rejected County tax requests for years, yet the County refuses to listen, Voters should be outraged. In the last four years:

Two requests for a 1% use tax were defeated.

A 1% sales tax was defeated two years ago.

A 56% stealth property tax increase last year was defeated (but the property mill levy increased 1.87 mills, anyway.)

 

Park County general fund expenditures grew 133% between 1992 and 2002. How much more money is needed? Should voters punish themselves for the $750,000 annual jail deficits for the rental jail the voters voted down and the County built anyway? The rental jail was built about ten times larger than needed for County use.

 

The ballot title is vague and confusing. What are "surcharges on all County funds?" Voters are not sure which fines and forfeitures and surcharges will actually increase or why they should be increased, or where the money will be spent. How broad is this authority? This is another blank check.

 

VOTE NO on 1B

 

Ballot Title and Text:

REFERENDUM 1C

 

SHALL PARK COUNTY, COLORADO, BE AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE, COLLECT, RETAIN, AND EXPEND REVENUE FROM FEES, PERMITS, LICENSES AND SERVICES ON ALL COUNTY FUNDS IN 2003, AND IN EVERY SUBSEQUENT YEAR THEREAFTER, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY RESTRICTIONS OR LIMITATIONS UPON FISCAL YEAR SPENDING, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY COLORADO CONSTITUTION ARTICLE X, SECTION 20? NOTHING IN THIS BALLOT ISSUE SHALL PERMIT ANY INCREASE IN THE PROPERTY TAX MILL LEVY OR ANY TAX RATE OR ANY SALES TAX RATE CURRENTLY APPROVED OR IMPOSED BY THE COUNTY OF PARK. NOTHING IN HEREIN SHALL PERMIT ANY INCREASE IN THE PROPERTY TAX MILL LEVY OR OTHER PROPERTYTAX RATES CURRENTLY APPROVED OR IMPOSED BY THE COUNTY OF PARK.

 

Summary of written comments FOR the proposal

 

VOTE 'YES' ON QUESTION 1C.

 

This ballot question does NOT increase taxes. This ballot question will permit Park County to retain and spend revenues received from fees, services and permits, which would otherwise be subject to the limitation on spending set by the Colorado Constitution. Under current law, all monies collected for fees, services and permits count against the County's spending limitation. This results in wasted revenues and opportunities that would otherwise benefit residents. For example, last year a developer in the Hartsel area wanted to pay the County an impact fee to expand the Hartsel Fire Department capabilities to meet the increased demands caused by his development. However, the County was prohibited from accepting the money, even though it would have been passed through directly to the Hartsel Fire Department, because the legally required flow of these funds through the County would count against the County's spending limitations. Voting 'YES' on question 1C would avoid such unfair results.

 

When the County has future large developments, this ballot question would allow the County to require the developer to reimburse the County for fees paid to experts retained to assist in the review and approval process. Without this ballot question, the County would be forced to cut spending in other service areas to account for the experts' fees because of the current spending limit.

 

This ballot question only pertains to Park County fees, services, and permits. This measure does NOT apply to fees established by the State of Colorado, such as filing fees charged by the County Court and recording fees charged by the County Clerk & Recorder.

 

This ballot question does NOT relieve the County of its obligation to limit the amount charged for fees, services, and permits to an amount that is reasonable based on the service or use being sought. THIS BALLOT QUESTION DOES NOT INCREASE TAXES.

 

VOTE 'YES' ON QUESTION 1C.

 

Summary of written comments AGAINST the proposal:

 

Vote NO on 1C

 

If voters remove the Constitutional spending limits on fees, the County will be free to raise fees completely unlimited and unrestrained by voter input. Unlike property taxes and sales taxes, fees now can be raised by the County without voter approval, but only if fees stay under the Constitutional spending limit umbrella. Park County wants you to remove these reasonable Constitutional protections.

 

The County is asking for this blank check because it intends to exploit it fully. The cost of a building permit tripled to $400 several years ago. If building permits can triple with spending limits in place, they will surely explode without spending limits. Will you be charged $2,000 for a building permit for that new garage? Other jurisdictions charge this and more. $500 for the sheriff to answer a burglary call or calling in a barking dog complaint? $10 to copy a page of public documents? $100 to file a protest of property tax assessment? $1,000 County court fee? New business licensing requirements? Fees for mandatory, though unwanted, "services?" These are all likely and are reasons to Vote NO on 1C.

 

Fees are not just small costs that don't affect you. Unlimited fees can become as large as any property tax or sales tax increase. Because Park County voters have consistently refused to raise property taxes and sales taxes, the County is using this backdoor strategy to get the same money. Vote NO on 1C.

 

With unlimited ability to raise fees, the County has incentive to invent new fees and begin calling taxes "fees." Far-fetched? Six months ago Colorado Springs began charging annual fees to keep the street lights turned on because it was an unlimited revenue source. Can fees to grade the road in front of your home be far away? New fees will pop up like mushrooms after a rain. And in case you are inclined to trust the bureaucracy, remember Park County attorneys last year told you a 56% property tax increase was really not a tax increase! (Even though the 56% property tax increase was defeated, the County property mill levy still increased 1.87 mills, in violation of the Colorado Constitution)

 

Removing fee limits removes fiscal accountability and the limited government Park County voters cherish. The County will lose the discipline needed to prioritize competing demands.

 

This is 1 of 3 Park County tax and fee increase requests on this ballot- a full-court press. Every County tax request in recent years has been defeated. Voters should be outraged that the County refuses to listen.

 

You lose your right forever to lower your taxes because you have no right to petition the County. The same applies to your children and grandchildren.

 

VOTE NO on 1C


(This is a scanned document and may not be an exact replication. For the Official Notice, please contact the Park County Clerk.)


1A 1B/C 3A 3B/C Index

Discussion and Polls (Non-Scientific)

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