23 REASONS TO VOTE YES

     OUR SCHOOLS FACE A CRISIS 

1)  The Park R-3 School District voted 5-0 to endorse a yes vote.

2)  Our School District will face a $1.1 million budget gap next year, with up to a 20 percent cut in funding over the next 3 years.

3)  Next year alone, the Park R-3 School District will be moving backward 7 years in operational funding. 

4)  All 178 school districts across Colorado have voiced opposition to urban renewal through a resolution of the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB).

5)  The resolution opposes the use of urban renewal authorities unless school boards are granted a greater say in their creation, including written approval by the local school board. 

     FAIRNESS TO OUR TAXING DISTRICTS 

6)  The "new" EPURA will take 97 percent of its funding from our other taxing districts, including:  1) the Park R-3 School District; 2) Larimer County; 3) the Park Hospital District; 4) the Estes Library District; 5) the Estes Parks & Recreation District; and 6) the new Estes Fire District. 

7)  In 2008 alone, EPURA diverted nearly $1 million from our other taxing districts.

8)  Our Schools, Hospital, Library, Fire and other taxing districts  deserve the benefit of all the property taxes collected on their mill levies without sacrificing growth. 

     THE "HIDDEN TAX" OF TAX INCREMENT FINANCING 

9)  EPURA's "tax increment financing" (TIF) is a hidden tax that never appears on your property tax bill.

10)  EPURA will capture all the real growth in property tax revenue in the EPURA District for 25 years to be spent on urban renewal.  (Increases in the "base" for other taxing districts only account for inflation).

11)  When taxing districts lose the growth in tax revenue from Estes Park's business core they will be forced to raise taxes or cut services.  

12)  Our Taxing Districts have already been forced to raise taxes just to maintain services.  For example, the School District (2006)  Library District (2004) and Rec. District (2008).

     PROTECTING OUR RIGHT TO VOTE ON DEBTS
 

13)  In 2008, the Town Board extended EPURA and re-drew its boundaries to include the Stanley Fairgrounds.  This will allow the Town to spend EPURA money on a town property. 

14)  EPURA has the power to issue bonds without voter approval.

15)  A 2008 Town survey reveals that 61 percent of respondents opposed a mill lvey for $3.5 million in debt to fund Fairgrounds improvements.  Current cost estimates for the Fairgrounds facilities far exceed $3.5 million. 

16)  Keeping EPURA for another 24 years would allow the Town to issue debts for public works or private development projects without voter approval.

     THE TOWN REFUSES TO COMMIT ITS OWN MONEY TO URBAN RENEWAL

17)  To fund the "new EPURA," the Town Board decided to commit zero sales tax dollars to the tax increment, relying instead solely on property tax increment taken from essential services. 

18)   The "Old" EPURA received about $40 million in sales tax increment, but only about $10 million was actually spent on urban renewal projects.  EPURA gave the other $30 million back to the Town Board.  
 
19)  By committing zero Town sales taxes to urban renewal, the Town Board revealed that EPURA is just a "funding mechanism" for the Town, not a genuine project authority.

     VOTE YES--DON'T REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR

20)  In 2008, the Town Board forced citizens to go to court to enforce their constitutional right to circulate the petitions for this vote.

21)  The Town Board could have set this for election in November, but instead decided the ballots should be mailed Christmas Week for a January 12 election! 

22)  If the Town succeeds in thwarting the Yes vote, we can expect similar shenanigans and disregard for voters' constitutional rights in the future.      

     LET'S VOTE YES TO RESTART

23)  Town Trustee Richard Homeier wrote to the Trail-Gazette urging a "Yes" vote, saying that it is time to "reboot"  or restart urban renewal.  The Ballot Question will allow voters to approve an urban renewal in the future when there is a clear plan and need for it. 

If you need to receive a ballot, go to "Get Your Ballot" at the top of this page.
If you are ready to return your "Yes" vote, go to "Returning Your Ballot" for information on drop-off sites.  Your ballot must be received by the Larimer Elections office by 7 pm on Tuesday, January 12.  A postmark is not sufficient.  Every vote will matter.  Thank you for your support. 

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