Simpson pushed for change in Durango



Since getting involved in local politics, Dennis Simpson feels he’s helped steer a number of changes at Grand Junction City Hall. Those include:

■ Money-saving change in 2011 of the way the city bids for bond underwriting;

■ Expanded use of a 0.75 percent sales tax beyond capital projects;

■ A 2009 change requiring council approval for large staff purchases;

■ Validating that wording on an April 2013 TABOR ballot measure was not entirely truthful;

■ Including 2010 certificates of participation, or COPS, in annual TABOR calculations;

■ City workshops now are recorded and summaries of those discussions are available to the public.

Dennis Simpson feels so strongly about governments not going into debt without voter approval, he might have quit a job over it.

As the former finance director of Durango’s School District 9-R in the 1990s, he was thankful voters passed a bond measure around that time to pay for school improvements. But, he said he couldn’t in good faith have continued working for the district if it resorted to using certificates of participation, or COPs. This funding mechanism is a way for governments to finance projects.

By that time Simpson already had a history of opposing COPs. In the 1980s, he worked alongside other volunteers to get petitions signed to take the issue of abolishing the use of COPs to a vote, and Durango voters agreed.

Simpson twice ran for city council in Durango, losing by 27 votes and by 100, respectively.

Simpson hasn’t ruled out running for council in Grand Junction, and said he may make a go of it in 2015.


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