Palisade backs tax measure for schools

The Palisade Town Board endorsed School District 51’s proposed mill levy override Tuesday night, contending the extra funding is needed to help offset millions of dollars in cuts made the last three years and millions more that could be made in the future.

With Superintendent Steve Schultz, Executive Director of Support Services Melissa Callahan deVita and Board of Education member Greg Mikolai in attendance, trustees voted 5-1 to back Referred Measure 3B. Trustee Jim Harkreader cast the dissenting vote. Mayor Roger Granat was absent from the meeting.

Harkreader said while he personally supports the tax measure, he believes his role as an elected official is to listen to constituents tell him how to vote, not the other way around.

“To utilize my role as an elected official to promote this mill levy increase, you’re asking me to tell them how to vote,” he said.

Trustee Mike Krueger, however, said he thinks elected officials are supposed to demonstrate leadership, and several trustees said it was appropriate for them to take a position on the measure.

If approved, 3B would raise property taxes by 7 mills and generate $12.5 million in 2012. District officials say that money would be used to rehire teachers, add school days and expand technology.

Prior to the vote, Mikolai noted that District 51 has slashed $28.6 million from its budget the last three years and may have to trim another $8 million to $10 million next year — cuts he claimed would have “dire consequences” for students.

The Town Board is the first local government body in Mesa County to take a position on the mill levy override. The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Junction Economic Partnership have endorsed the measure.


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