Statement of Intent: These documents are meant to serve as an objective, position neutral, factual summary of Ballot Initiative 1A which will be placed on the November 5, 2019 ballot. Included are potential arguments both for and against the initiative. Both lists of the potential arguments for and against are not exhaustive. This factual summary is not meant to provide any conclusions, opinions, or to urge a vote in favor of or against this initiative.
The Grand County Board of Commissioners has placed a question on the November 5, 2019 ballot asking the voters to approve a county-wide 0.2% sales tax increase to fund new a new Public Safety Facility in Hot Sulphur Springs.
The Board of County Commissioners is responsible for helping to ensure the health, safety, security, protection and overall welfare of the people, property, and resources of Grand County, Colorado. Additionally, Grand County Government is statutorily obligated to pay the expenses associated with the maintenance and operation of the County Public Safety Facility.
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office is the chief law enforcement agency for Grand County, with statutory responsibilities to keep the peace and maintain public safety on behalf of all Grand County residents regardless of municipal boundaries.
The Sheriff’s Office operates and manages the existing Public Safety Facility which encompasses the following: 911 Communications and dispatch operations for emergency responders serving Grand County, the County Detention Center for the detention, safekeeping, and confinement of persons and prisoners lawfully committed from all towns as well as unincorporated Grand County; and the Sheriff’s Department offices for law enforcement personnel.
The existing Public Safety Facility has suffered damage from fire, water, and sewage issues as well as safety equipment failures. Each of the incidents resulted in significant costs to repair. According to the Grand County Sheriff, the current condition of the Public Safety Facility does not provide nor accommodate the appropriate safety measures. The safety of the Sheriff’s personnel directly affects their ability to protect and serve the citizens of Grand County.
The Grand County Sheriff stated that the Public Safety Facility no longer meets correctional facility standards. The Board of County Commissioners, with public input, identified it as the most critical need of the County because of significant concerns for the safety and security to law enforcement personnel, visitors, and for those detained.
POTENTIAL ARGUMENTS FOR
The Detention Center, Sheriff’s Department offices and 911 Dispatch are 35 years old and don’t meet the County’s needs. They are not safe for the Sheriff’s staff or for those detained.
A 0.2% sales tax is 20 cents on a $100 purchase. The proposed tax would sunset in 20 years.
The safety of the Grand County Sheriff’s staff is a top priority for the Board. The employees need to work in a safe space.
A portion of the sales tax revenue will come from visitors and part-time residents of the County.
The amount of people visiting Grand County is increasing and this creates increasing demands on the Sheriff’s department.
After investigating all options and costs, the Board of County Commissioners determined that constructing a new facility is more cost-effective than remodeling and provides an opportunity to accommodate for future growth.
The Board of County Commissioners determined that locating the new Public Safety Facility near the existing Judicial Center is safer for both personnel and detainees, as well as more cost-effective than other locations.
The increasing amount of tourism in Grand County heightens demand as well as raises maintenance and operational costs for County services. Implementation of an increased sales tax would affect all people utilizing county resources rather than a property tax which would solely affect property owners.
POTENTIAL ARGUMENTS AGAINST
The County’s existing Public Safety Facility is 35 years old and could still be used for a long time assuming upgrades and good maintenance.
The Grand County economy has been on an upward trend, which would likely result in more revenue for the County with or without a tax increase. That revenue could be used to pay for the new Public Safety Facility.
Grand County could set aside enough money to pay for the new Public Safety Facility without a tax increase.
Increasing the sales tax could have an impact on tourism, local residents, and businesses.
A portion of the sales tax revenue will come from full-time residents.
The location of the new Public Safety Facility and its construction could impact residences neighboring the facility.
A majority of the public consists of law-abiding citizens who are not directly affected by the condition of Grand County’s Public Safety Facility.
The approval of this ballot initiative will increase taxes in Grand County.