Voters narrowly deny city TABOR excess for roads
Grand Junction voters want their money back.
That’s the consensus on a ballot measure that asked voters whether excess revenue from limits set by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights should be invested in a host of local transportation projects.
Referred Measure B failed by a narrow margin of 160 votes, according to the final, unofficial votes tallied Tuesday night.
“I’m happy with the voting outcome because it seems to me that the city was spending money before they had it,” Grand Junction resident Ken Leis said. “I don’t think they should approve (transportation projects) if there’s no money to put towards it.”
The city has estimated about $2.4 million a year would have been available to spend on capital improvement projects as early as 2015.
City councilors can again ask voters in 2015 if they want to divert the excess tax dollars. Or councilors can decide to refund the dollars as they have twice — in 2003 and 2006.
In 2003, all property owners were refunded $320,368 in a temporary mill levy credit. For an average home value of $187,000, residential homeowners were refunded about $6 a year.
In 2006, the city refunded $459,228. Using the same average home value, homeowners received about $9 a year.
Peggy Cherry said Tuesday night she did not want the measure to pass because wording on the ballot question was “so open-ended it would never end.” “I feel if they would have been more specific, it would have passed,” she said.
The ballot measure asked voters to approve the override measure for an indeterminate amount of time for transportation projects including improvements to Horizon Drive and North Avenue, connecting 29 Road to Interstate 70 and widening 24 Road.
According to final, unofficial results on Tuesday night, 5,746 voters, or 50.7 percent, were against spending the money on transportation projects and 5,586 voters, or 49.3 percent, approved of allowing the city to spend the override dollars.
According to city officials, refunds would equal about $4 a month, or $48 a year, for homeowners with homes valued at the average price of $187,000. Refunds would be less for homeowners with lower home values and more for owners of more expensive homes.
In 2008, Grand Junction voters approved a TABOR override to pay off Riverside Parkway, which currently is on track to be paid off in 2015.
Staff writer Stan Schrock contributed to this report.