With 99% of Jefferson County ballots tabulated, voters in the Northwest Lakewood Sanitation District have turned down efforts to de-Bruce the district.
The vote at 8 p.m. Nov. 9 — 3,727 or 55.35% against vs. 3,007 or 44.65% in favor — will not allow the sanitation district to retain taxes it collects in excess of what the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) permits to help the district make improvements to its infrastructure. Jefferson County estimates that 81% of ballots have been tabulated.
The Jeffco Clerk & Recorder's office said it has tabulated all of the ballots it has received. Final numbers will be available on Nov. 17 after overseas ballots have been tabulated.
“TABOR has such an effect on this district that it’s preventing the district from using some funds the district needs to continue to improve the system,” said Steve Beck, the district’s manager and accountant.
Because it was not getting enough property taxes, the district started assessing a $400 yearly fee to users beginning in 2011 to help defray the cost of rehabbing the pipes in the system, most of them installed in the mid-1950s and outliving their life.
Beck explained that the district is slowly injecting what is in essence a smaller pipe into the larger one to keep the larger pipes from leaking. With the lack of funds, it will take the district more than 25 years to complete the improvements to the pipes.
The district, established in 1954, provides sanitary sewer services to 4,000 homes and 500 businesses or multi-dwelling properties in a six-mile area bounded by Kipling Street on the east, Sixth Avenue on the south, Denver West on the west and 38th Avenue on the north.
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