AVON — The voters have had their say, and the Skier Building in Avon will not be purchased using “certificate of participation” bonds.
Of the 647 total ballots received in the special election, 418 came in against and 229 in favor of using the bonds according to totals issued by the town late Tuesday night.
Council members approved the idea to purchase the building for the purposes of relocating town hall there back in September, after negotiating a deal behind closed doors with Starwood, the building’s owner. The purchase price was found to be agreeable by both parties at $3.2 million.
The purchase method, however, was not found to be as agreeable to a group of voters in Avon who said it was against the spirit of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, approved by Colorado voters in 1992 in an effort to ensure public voting on large financing deals like the Skier Building. Certificate of participation bonds avoid the stipulations of TABOR by securing a large amount of money through a process of annual renewal, effectively making one 20-year loan into 20 one-year loans.
A referendum to overturn the decision to use certificate of participation bonds to purchase the building was put in place, led by Avon resident Dave Strandjord, who paid the attorney fees to ensure the language on the referendum did not contain any mistakes.
“This is something I really feel the voters should have a say in,” Strandjord said in October.
Strandjord was unavailable for comment late Tuesday after the votes came in, but was never as outspoken in his contempt for certificate of participation funding mechanism as his neighbor Peter Buckley, a regular speaker at Town Council meetings, who was excited to hear the news.
“It was a team, and the team wanted to make sure the voters had a voice in this process,” Buckley said Tuesday night.
Mayor Jennie Fancher was also unavailable for questions but issued this statement: “I am very pleased at the turnout from the election and the strong interest the voters of Avon have demonstrated.”