Silt Water Conservancy District photo A crew of workers does repair work to Siphon No. 2 on the Grass Mesa Canal, part of the Silt Water Conservancy District’s water delivery system. The district is hoping voters will agree to “de-Bruce” its spending authority, so it can embark on much needed repairs to its aging
SILT — The directors of the Silt Water Conservancy District, which manages water rights for agricultural uses in the area between Peach Valley and Rifle, wants voters to “de-Bruce” the district’s finances in order to permit the use of state and local grants, loans and other funding sources to fix an ailing and relatively ancient water-delivery system.
“This is not a tax increase,” emphasized the district’s board president, Kelly Lyon, during an interview on Tuesday about question 5B on the Nov. 5 election ballot.
Instead, according to Lyon and the district’s attorney, Jeff Houpt, the board is asking voters to free the district from the spending restrictions imposed by what is known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1992.
The amendment, authored by Colorado Springs conservative Douglas Bruce, was promoted as a way to restrict the spending and taxing authority of state and local governments in order to achieve the conservative political goal of shrinking the size of government.
But in succeeding years, the effects of TABOR have so constrained government budgets that in many jurisdictions the electorate has agreed to get rid of the TABOR restrictions, under the general rubric of “de-Brucing.”
For the Silt water district, the goal is strictly to eliminate the spending restrictions of TABOR, so that the district can apply for grants to fund repairs and upgrades of to the district’s water transmission facilities.
“We can get the grants,” Lyon said, “but under TABOR we’d have to give it back.” He said the district already has received a $15,000 state grant that is sitting in a bank account awaiting the outcome of the Nov. 5 election. Continue reading