Good news from Grand Lake!
I am pleased to announce that the Town of Grand Lake has rescinded the outrageous municipal fee this last Tuesday, May 29th by a vote of 6-1. The action followed two unsuccessful attempts to rescind the municipal fee on January 8th and February 12th 2018
This could have not been possible, if it were not for the election of four new trustees at the April 2nd election. All four new trustees voted to rescind the municipal fee along with the Mayor and myself.
A little background: The municipal fee was adopted to cover approximately 50% ($80k annually) of the cost to cover police service including dispatch and street lighting. Traditionally, these expenses were always covered by the normal taxes and fees collected in the general fund.
The Municipal fee became a “Hot Topic” during the election process and the candidate forum we had at the end of March. The electorate was offended that they were not asked to vote for the municipal fee, but rather the money was stolen out of their pocketbooks just as a common thief would do.
To make matters worse, the Town of Grand Lake placed the fee on the citizens’ water bills, which created confusion. The low quarterly amount of about $25 per water tap made many other people not even question what the fee was for and it was only mentioned once in a town newsletter after it was imposed. (Transparency?) Not even a public hearing was done, which I do not believe would have gone far enough. The question arose, how can you collect funds into a utility “enterprise” and then transfer the funds to the general fund? Rather unscrupulous financial activity, in my point of view.
In addition, vacant land owners were exempt from paying the fee. I guess they don’t use police, police dispatch, and street lighting?
This roll-back all started when I wrote an editorial in the Sky Hi News on January 5th 2018 calling the Grand Lake Municipal Fee ” A Huge Game Changer.” It gives bullet points on why the municipal fee is so bad.
I did not want to go against the Board of Trustees, but I felt much more obligated to the citizens of Grand Lake, than I ever did the other five board members and the mayor. It was illegal, immoral and unethical in my point of view. As uncomfortable as the experience was, I am now so grateful that I listened to my conscience and a little voice from above!
Penn, Thank you for all your help and support and please convey my appreciation to the TABOR Committee.
Not intended to criticize the total legal profession but speaking as an average Joe…………… the debate over whether something is a tax or a fee seems ridiculous. The public at large knows the difference! The courts do not and it appears to me legal jujitsu is used to bypass the electorate. Perhaps because they already know what the outcome would be, if it went to a vote.
Grand Lake, Town Trustee.