Proposed Boulder County Ballot Issues for 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Board of County Commissioners of Boulder County

Statement on Proposed Boulder County Ballot Issues for 2014

Over the last several months we have been weighing a number of questions and soliciting public feedback on what we should ask county voters to consider on this November's ballot. Recently, we commissioned a poll to find out from residents what their most current priorities are as we review potential ballot issues for the fall election.

“What has become clear during this timeframe is that flood recovery, including rebuilding our transportation system, restoring waterways, and helping people impacted by the flood will continue to be the focus of our ongoing efforts for many years,” said Board Chair, Cindy Domenico. “Recovery is taking a long time, is more costly than anticipated, and the flow of reimbursement dollars from the state is slower than expected. Matching those reimbursement programs requires significant capital outlay, and will depend upon community investment by the voters this fall.”

Earlier this year a number of residents came to the county to ask the county commissioners to consider a sustainability measure that would include support for energy efficiency, sustainability programs, and local food infrastructure. Surveys have consistently shown strong support for sustainability initiatives and in a poll earlier this year, 60% of Boulder County residents said they would support a sustainability tax. In addition, Boulder County Commissioners have long placed a high priority on sustainability, making it a guiding principle for the county.

“We have seen as more and more residents take advantage of programs that help improve their bottom line and support their shared values of conserving resources and using less energy in their homes and businesses, that support for an expanded sustainability initiative continues to grow,” said County Commissioner Deb Gardner.

Our most recent polling results, however, indicate that while residents continue to support sustainability initiatives that benefit their homes, towns and cities, and businesses, there are other pressing issues that poll responders said top their list of priorities right now.

“The 2013 Flood had a dramatic impact on our county in the form of torn-up roads and bridges, damaged and destroyed homes and structures, and disrupted creek channels and waterways, and the results of these impacts are present in our everyday lives,” said Commissioner Deb Gardner. Not surprisingly, because of the urgency and enormity of flood recovery expenses, for this fall’s ballot, residents appear to be prioritizing flood recovery before a sustainability tax.”

“Sustainability has been an important goal for both the county organization and our community for years, and many stakeholders and residents continue to push for Boulder County to be on the forefront of providing sustainability programs and infrastructure that address energy consumption, zero waste, local agriculture, resource and water conservation, and alternative transportation,” said County Commissioner Elise Jones. “Ultimately we look forward to an opportunity in the near future to deliver more sustainable services and infrastructure directly to residents, such as through expanding curbside composting and strategies for improving water efficiency, energy conservation, and improved air quality.”

We also continue to see the need in our community for support for our non-profits that provide human services and for support of programs that help families get back on their feet and stabilize their households.

Programs and services established under the Human Services Temporary Safety Net (TSN), first approved by voters in 2010 in response to massive state funding cuts and the entrenched effects of the Great Recession, continue to help individuals and families recover from economic challenges and move along the road to self-sufficiency. The TSN also greatly enhanced the collaborative efforts between county departments and community partners and has strengthened the county’s ability to respond to those in need, which has been a tremendous asset following the devastating 2013 Flood.

“With the TSN in place, the county was able to get people the help they’ve needed to get back on their feet following the flood,” said Commissioner Gardner.

At this time, with the recovery challenges we still have before us, we believe a flood recovery revenue measure and supporting our human services safety net should be our first priorities.

We continue to believe, however, that the long term health and economic vitality of our county depends on our working together in our own towns, cities, and unincorporated county, to pursue ideas that help our residents, businesses and institutions reduce their environmental footprint. We know that climate change is already impacting Colorado with more frequent and intense droughts, wildfires and extreme weather events, and it is critical that we do what we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of a changing climate.

“Given these results, and the conversations we’ve been having with individuals and local community leaders throughout this challenging year, we will not be taking action to put a sustainability measure on the ballot this year,” said County Commissioner Elise Jones. “However, we remain 100% committed to pursuing a sustainability initiative for Boulder County in the near future.”

As our next step, we have given input to staff to begin drafting ballot language for flood recovery and for the extension of the Human Services Safety Net program to be considered at our public hearing on August 12, where we will set ballot titles for 2014.

“When we have been able to rebuild our community infrastructure and bring more stability to still struggling households, we will once again reach out to our residents and ask for their support in continuing a leadership role in funding a countywide Sustainability initiative,” said Commissioner Domenico.

On this date of July 17, 2014:

Cindy Domenico, Deb Gardner, Elise Jones

Board of County Commissioners

Boulder County


Contact: Barb Halpin, Commissioners’ Office, 303-441-1622
Twitter: @BoulderCounty

Barbara Halpin
Boulder County Public Information Officer

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