After recieving the ‘Notice of Election’ pamphlet describing the ballot propositions to be included in this year’s elections, several residents approached The Chronicle-News with questions regarding propositions, specifically, Trinidad School District (TSD) No. 1’s 4B.
So, we asked TSD No. 1 administrators to walk us through Proposition 4B and reached out to other officials to try and summarize and explain the other local propositions as well.
So, we begin with Proposition 4B:
Ballot issue 4B is an opportunity to secure funding through Colorado’s BEST Grant program.
The district is asking the support of local voters for $7,455,000. Of this amount, $4,500,000 is required in order to receive the BEST Grant funding. This represents a 29 percent match of the awarded grant.
The BEST Grant totals $15,549,663 for TSD No. 1. This funding will be allocated exclusively for renovations and remodeling of the Trinidad Middle School.
The remainder of the $7,455,000 request of local voters, or $2,955,000, will be used for renovations at Trinidad High School.
If approved the local match will be funded through a 20-year general obligation bond.
“The timing for this bond is ideal for Trinidad patrons,” commented TSD No. 1 Superintendent Dr. Bonnie Aaron.
Dr. Aaron added, “Historically low interest rates, the retirement of an existing bond, and a relatively small required match of 29 percent, will allow voters to approve Issue 4B without an increase to their local property taxes.”
Without the approval from voters for the local match the entire $15,549,663 will be forfeited.
Dr. Aaron concluded, “This is an excellent opportunity to improve the facilities on the district’s main campus with minimal expense to our local patrons.”
First, referred measure 2A is seeking to include the municipal landfill as an enterprise in order to delegate to it responsibility for its financial independence and self-sufficiency, and also preserving the City of Trinidad’s obligation to own and operate it unless otherwise authorized by voters.
Referred measure 2B would allow the City of Trinidad to extend until December 31, 2026 the additional one percent sales tax originally approved in 1980 and extended in 1991, 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2014 by the vote of the people.
This would provide funding for capital projects, including the construction, maintenance and improvement of public works, the purchase of land and buildings, and capital purchases, as determined by the city council.
To be clear, marijuana tax monies and Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) monies each are used for different things. Marijuana monies are generally limited to immediate community needs or where CIP funds cannot be used.
Some examples of these have been the hiring of Americorps Trail-builders for the Wormhole Trail, the downtown horticulture projects, and the purchase of new period lighting downtown including Christmas lights. The city has budgeted over $5 million in projects in 2019. Upcoming projects include Santa Fe Trail work, Central Park restroom facility replacement, Central Park Grandstand replacement, development of new roads, and federally mandated ADA compliance projects.
Next, ballot issue 4A is in regards to increasing the debt by $3.2 million with a repayment cost of up to $5,985,000. If passed, the Hoehne Reorganized School District No. 3 taxes would be increased not more than $275,000 annually, with the proceeds of such debt to be used together with financial assistance from the state under the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Act in the anticipated approximate amount of $1,776,000 and/or other grant programs, for the purpose of providing capital assets for district purposes. These purposes may include but are not limited to acquisition, construction and equipping of a new agricultural education shop to replace the shop that was built in 1951.
This would allow an increase of the mill levy in any year without limitation as to rate but only in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on such debt or any refunding debt, provided that such tax increase shall not produce revenue that will exceed the maximum annual amount stated above.
Lastly, ballot issue 6A is seeking taxes to be increased $1,038,000 annually and by the same amount each year thereafter for the benefit of Trinidad Ambulance.
According to the district, tax revenue has decreased by more than 50 percent in the last nine years.
Ballot Issue 6A allows the district board of directors to raise the rate from the current 2.907 mills to a maximum of 6 mills.
If approved by voters, directors will then vote upon a rate that does not generate more tax revenue than was collected in 2010.
According to comments filed in favor of the proposition, this would allow the district to continue providing advanced life support level services and staff two ambulances 24 hours a day.
Comments in favor also say the proposition ensures that the district will be able to replace ambulances when their useful life is complete, as well as recruit and retain EMS providers to maintain a full staff.