Clifton, Fruitvale residents split on annexing or incorporating

What sort of municipal future do Clifton and Fruitvale residents want?

The answer may come this week when a telephone survey, commissioned by Mesa County at a cost of $8,000, asks residents: annex into Grand Junction or create a city of Clifton?

Four well-attended community meetings over the summer in the Clifton and Fruitvale area laid out the pros and cons and took an informal straw poll of residents. The informal polling done by the county at the meetings showed a nearly 50-50 split.

This week’s phone survey will ask 10 questions of 400 residents.

Where the respondents live will be compared to the differences in their answers, said Kimberly Bullen, senior management analyst for Mesa County.

The county will cross-tabulate the answers and see if there is a difference of opinion between the residents of Fruitvale, an area defined as north of the Interstate 70 Business Loop and west of the City Market in the Coronado Plaza, and the residents of Clifton, residing southeast of I-70B and east of 32 Road out to 33 3/4 Road.

“I think we have to be careful and don’t say this is the boundary, and this is what it will be. We have to be flexible,” she said of potential borders of a future city of Clifton.

It won’t be until spring or November 2009 when residents will vote on the question, if they vote on it at all.

There is still the option of doing nothing. But the choice to do nothing could lead to a decline in services to Clifton and Fruitvale residents, Bullen said.

If the residents of Fruitvale prefer to be included in a new city, as opposed to being annexed into Grand Junction, property taxes in the new city would be more than the projected 10.4 mills, because of the abundance of housing and lack of retail in Fruitvale, Bullen said.

“We can’t continue doing what we have been doing for the last several years,” Bullen said. “Status quo could mean (residents) could see a decrease over time of the levels of service they have.”

The survey is being done by the ETC Institute, the same company that did the 2007 Community Survey for Mesa County.


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