The Elk Creek Fire District consolidation question is not ready for prime time, and needs more discussion before being on the ballot. Consolidation is a very complex idea that was developed with a façade of public involvement. Questionnaires that requested public input were general questions. The public now has to study numerous websites and references to try to determine specifics; like where will be the nearest ambulance service origination point, or what is the overall budgetary effect, or how much will my property taxes increase? How does this improve the already excellent service? The public will be voting based on a trusted friend, or from comments on social media. Not on clear data. Voters don’t know how much their property taxes will increase. The calculator that proponents recommend does not even include the 34% underlying property valuation increase in the total tax increase; it presents monthly costs, instead of annual costs, to make the increase appear small. Nearly doubling of the 2024 individual property tax liability is the best I can determine. A better option would have been to delay the consolidation question until next year when the effects of the 2024 property valuations are known, and until after the General Assembly has made an effort to reduce property tax increases (Proposition HH is a non-starter that takes away our TABOR refunds).
Consolidation cannot be undone once it is approved, and voting and hoping for the best is a poor strategy. There are too many unknowns currently, and waiting another year would answer many of those questions. That is why I am voting NO on 7D, 7E, and 7F.
Gary Fisk, Pine
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