YES on 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G – Neglected Infrastructure

1D – $149,786,000 for financing the cost of streets, transportation and public works facilities, including, but not limited to: Repairing streets, structures, and/or increasing road capacity; improving mutimodal accessibility and connections; replacing and/or repairing sound walls; repairing and/or installing new curb and gutter; improving transit stop connections, streetscapes and upgrading street medians…

1E – $93,387,000 for financing the cost of park system facilities, including, but not limited to maintenance, rehabilitation, restoration, repair and/or replacement of: drainage and irrigation systems; pools; historic structures and features, playground, and building systems; landscapes; trails, roads and parking lots; and, together with acquisition, design and development of land, park and recreation centers…

1F – $10,350,000 for financing the cost of deferred maintenance for public office facilities, included, but not limited to: the City and County Building and the former City Permit Center…

1G – $60,546,000 for financing the cost of deferred maintenance for cultural facilities, including, but not limited to the renovation, reconstruction, replacement and/or repair of: the Denver Botonic Gardens buildings and grounds, the conservatory and greenhouse; the Boettcher Concert Hall; the Champa Street side of the Quigg Newton Denver Municipal Auditorium and the Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre Rehearsal Space; and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science…

Okay. These four questions on the upcoming ballot address specifically the remediation of crumbling city infrastructure. As I noted previously:

What bothers me most about the 2.5 mill levy increase for, as I said, “…the sole purpose of funding the restoration, rehabilitation, refurbishment, or replacement of the city’s capital infrastructures, including parks, public works, buildings, and other pubic facilities and improvements…” is that we have been presented with eight bond issues which seem to, at first look, accomplish what the mill levy increase is touted to accomplish; and, at second look, actually increases the city’s infrastructure, thus further burdening taxpayers with the maintenance of the same. (I know, I know. The “intent” of the mill levy increase on property taxes, as espoused by the Infrastructure Priorities Task Force and the Hick, is simply to fix crumbling infrastructure. However, nowhere have I seen a proposed line item breakdown of how that additional $27 million will be spent. Additionally, what bothers me about the wording of the mill levy increase are the words, “replacement,” and “other public facilities and improvements.” That’s a great big door left open, once again, for the city mamas and papas–certainly the Hick, himself–to interpret and define how and where that money will be spent.)

A great deal of what the mill levy increase is touted to be utilized for is embedded within the eight proposed bond issues that will appear on the ballot. Rather than provide a detailed explication of the eight bond issues, here’s a link where you can take a look yourself. (Note: Go to the UPPERCASE print.) If you take a look at the language describing these bond issues you will note the words: “deferred maintenance, renovation, reconstruction, replacement, repair, improvements, rehabilitation.” Probably the most telling document you can take a look at is the companion ordinance that details line item projects embedded within the eight bond issues. Here’s the link.

So, not to belabor this issue, suffice it to say I am adamantly opposed to the 2.5 mill levy increase (Ballot issue 1A) on property taxes which, ostensibly, is going to be utilized to accomplish exactly what these four bond issues are designed to provide. Let’s take care of the pressing needs accommodated within 1D, 1E, 1F and 1G and then, in several years, take another look at on-going infrastructure maintenance. These four bond issues will free-up an immense burden upon the normally allocated General Fund monies for infrastructure maintenance. Now is simply not the time to hand over a forever property tax increase for infrastructure maintenance in light of the fact that these four bond issues provide over $300 million for infrastructure repair and maintenance.

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