Printed Letters: May 16, 2017

County should exempt grants from TABOR

I totally agree with Robin Brown’s suggestion in the Sunday editorial page that Mesa County should exempt all state grants from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).

I would also suggest that the county commissioners and administrators go one step further and research the other sources of income that exist in the county budget that are not local tax generated but are part of doing daily business.

For example, the county operates an excellent community corrections program, putting inmates to work and charging them for part of their room and board and other treatment services. Inmates also pay restitution to their victims. Our criminal justice system generates several revenues that I feel should be exempted from TABOR such as cost of prosecution fees, victims compensation and victim assistance and law enforcement surcharges that are paid by offenders to the County. These sources of income should not be counted against our TABOR limit.

A review of funding sources in other county departments may also reveal similar sources of income that may be generated from clients or other sources that may be appropriate for exemption. While the total fiscal impact may only be in the hundreds of thousands instead of millions of dollars, such exemptions will allow Mesa County to address pertinent needs of our citizens.

JOE HIGGINS
Grand Junction

Drainage District’s assessment of fees sets a bad precedent

My family has lived in the Grand Valley and farmed this land for more than 50 years. I would like to voice my opinion about the Grand Valley Drainage District “fees” which have been recently assessed on the residents of this community.

Last year I received a bill from GVDD for $72. I paid the amount, though I did not agree with it. I felt that I had to comply because I did not want it to be sent to collections.

This year they increased my bill to $270. This seems very questionable, as nothing has changed on my property in that time. I am now 78 years old and on a very limited income. While I still have my farm, the money made from the lease payment barely covers taxes, insurance, and irrigation water expenses. As costs continue to rise all around me, my income does not. My farm drainage and tail water does not even use the ditches managed by the Drainage District that I am being charged for. In my frustration I dug out my tax records going back to 2003 through 2016 and totaled up all of the property taxes that were allotted to GVDD during that time. The total for that period was $1,033.70. The Drainage District has been able to manage on those allotted property tax dollars for all these years. As I understand it, the more homes and businesses that are built in the valley, the more taxes that are received by the Drainage District, providing more revenue to manage drainage for that growth.

Grand Valley Drainage District is assessing a “fee” in order to raise more money. I question, why have the increasing funds from a growing tax base not generated enough money to cover these needs? If there is a real need and not just poor leadership or mismanagement, then the funds should be asked for in the form of a tax and not demanded in the form of a “fee.”

Hypothetically, any organization could decide that even though it could operate within its tax-funded budget, it may not want to.

I am not saying that this is the case with the Drainage District, but granting this type of authority to any organization without checks and balances puts us in a precarious position by establishing a precedent for all organizations.

If the district truly can no longer accomplish the job it was organized to do because of a lack of appropriate funding, then let them spell out the justification for additional funds, call it a tax, and approach the people in a legitimate manner to gain a vote of approval. Allowing for “fees"opens the door for problems and corruption.  This is a precedent we cannot afford.

KATHLEEN ARNETT
Clifton

AHCA fails to provide cheaper options or better coverage

In the initial paragraph of Joan Kelsey’s letter to The Daily Sentinel published May 14, the writer states categorically that the ACHA does not eliminate pre-existing conditions. I do hope Scott Tipton reads the entire ACHA. If he or you (the reader of this letter) would read the ACHA you would find Kelsey’s quote, only without the words “health insurance” and you would discover waivers. With the ACHA, each state may request waivers that would allow health insurance carriers to: avoid coverage for essential health benefits, reinstitute annual and life-time maximums, eliminate mental illness and maternity coverage, and eliminate pre-existing conditions. Always read the fine print.

The president promised less expensive insurance with more choice and better coverage. He and House leadership have, so far, failed.

JOHN LALLEMENT
Grand Junction


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