Printed letters, April 2, 2010

County building plan is capital idea for economy

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce adopted a plan to help stimulate the local economy in 2010 as a primary element of its business plan. One of those plan elements was to support bonding and other mechanisms that would expedite local capital projects and provide local jobs for our construction workers.

Mesa County government’s proposal to accelerate several of its capital projects through a “lease-purchase” agreement is exactly what we were looking for and we support it.

This method of financing will provide Mesa County with the money to move forward on several important projects this year while construction costs are low. It makes sense in the current economic environment, while projects cost less to build, and financing costs are low. It could also spur local job growth and we would encourage a conscious effort to look at awarding the work locally, if it makes sense for the taxpayers and can put local people to work.

It is our understanding that these capital projects would not otherwise happen in 2010. That means contractors being hired to do the construction work this year. It means jobs being created this year. And with construction costs overall lower than in previous years, it means getting a better price for the work to be done this year.

Mesa County would sell long-term leases on county facilities. (This would provide the up-front money for local capital projects). The county would then lease back the buildings over time, and continue their current use. It’s a win-win situation.

Our unemployment rate is 10 percent. We are still seeing the effects of the recession. The time to act is now.

The Mesa County commissioners will consider this option at their regular, 9:00 a.m. meeting on Monday. We wholeheartedly support their plan, and applaud their foresight in helping to stimulate the local economy

CRAIG LAMBERTY

Chairman of the Board

Grand Junction Area

Chamber of Commerce

Commissioners hypocritical in getting around TABOR

Talk about massive hypocrisy and chutzpa! Mesa County has announced a move to lease and leaseback the county’s Justice Center, and get a $17.5 million windfall — “magic money.”

Technically, this is not borrowing money like mortgaging the property. In the real world, there is little difference. Did you vote for this? This, in the land of the inviolate TABOR Amendment?

People may recall these county commissioners are vocal and staunch supporters of TABOR. They sued the state and the governor when the state approved a freeze on school district mill levies that meant mill levies would no longer drop as appraised values increased, as they had previously done.

TABOR, of course, was front and center in the commissioners grandstanding to local taxpayers. They claimed that the effect of the state’s move was to increase taxes without a citizen vote. TABOR requires a vote on increasing taxes and indebtedness, which this is.

I don’t mind the dodge. It is a legitimate way to get financing in a period of tough times. The dishonest part is that these commissioners are such big supporters of TABOR to satisfy local tax hawks, and then they turn around and use a technique to get around the very law they so loudly support.

Apparently, they have tested local sentiment and felt they could get away with it. It must mean the time is ripe for the city to proceed with its public safety facility plans with similar financing.

Why not take advantage of free money? Isn’t that what it is when the lease scheme can be paid off within normal budgets, conceivably without cutting back somewhere else? In the end, we need what the money will buy.

JOHN BORGEN

Grand Junction

Republicans demonstrate rapidly declining civility

What is happening to the GOP?

Someone allegedly spit on a black congressman and used racial epithets. Republicans have yelled, while Congress is in session, “You lie!” at the president and “Baby killer!” at Congressman Bart Stupak.

People are breaking windows in the offices of Democrats headquarters. They yell derogatory words at Barney Frank, an openly gay member of Congress. They have threatened the life of a Democratic congresswoman.

AL LEFEBRE

Grand Junction



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