Voters reject bonds for schools, safety
No. 6 of the Top Ten stories for 2008
As the first part of our year-end look at the Top 10 stories of 2008, today’s edition lists stories number No. 6 through No. 10 — as voted by editors and staff of The Daily Sentinel.
Saturday’s edition will profile the stories that made up much of the top half of the list, with a look back at stories No. 2 through No. 5.
And in Sunday’s edition, we will announce the story that made the most impact in 2008, along with results of a readers’ online vote of the Top 10 stories of the year at GJSentinel.com.
Voters defeated two bond measures in November that would have sent $185 million to District 51 to build new schools and $98 million for a public safety initiative put forth by the city of Grand Junction.
A spiraling economy weighed heavily on the minds of voters at the ballot box, eating away any support the two measures had, and landing their defeat at the sixth spot on The Daily Sentinel’s Top 10 stories for 2008.
Opponents of the measures said the price tags of the packages were excessive, and at least in the school district’s case, several voters were still miffed over $1 million given to Mesa State College for use of athletic facilities.
The school bond package earmarked funds to build two new high schools, two new elementary schools, replace Orchard Mesa Middle School and upgrade outdated facilities to help alleviate crowding in existing buildings.
The bond package would have been covered by an increase in local property taxes for the 25-year life of the bond.
A separate ballot question requesting a permanent $6 million mill-levy override to partially fund the operation of the new schools was also shot down.
The city had to shelve plans to construct seven new public safety buildings, including a main facility to house a new police station, fire administration, 911 dispatch, a municipal courtroom and an emergency operations center.
The public safety initiative would have increased sales tax from 2.75 percent to 3 percent until the city paid off debt incurred with the Riverside Parkway project, when it would have returned to 2.75 percent.
The initiative would also have allowed the city to keep and spend tax revenue above limits imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights after the parkway was paid off.
The district is mulling over alternative growth plans including leasing facilities for extra space while the city is exploring other funding sources for the initiative.