Election offers choice between progress, decline

Mar 10, 2015 | Uncategorized

Fort Collins voters will receive their ballots for the upcoming municipal elections in the mail in 10 days or so. With two tax proposals and the city council races, we will have the clearest choices we’ve had in years between maintaining community momentum and slamming on the brakes.

There are six ballot issues, four of which would make beneficial amendments to the city charter.

Another, Ballot Question 1, would extend for a period of 10 years the 0.25 percent sales and use tax used for community capital improvements. You can find information about the measure and a list of the projects that would be funded at www.fortcollinsstayinggreat.org.

To my knowledge, there is no organized opposition to the measure. The roots for this type of capital improvements plan go back to 1973. Since that time, voters have approved such a plan every decade or so.

My organization, the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, supports Ballot Question 1.

Ballot Question 2 would extend for a period of 10 years the 0.25 percent sales and use tax used for street maintenance. Basically, for 25 cents on a $100 purchase, voters ensure that the public’s biggest capital investment, the streets system, is properly maintained.

Voters have been smart with this program in that keeping streets in good repair costs between six to eight times less than a complete rebuild. Ballot Question 2 is the renewal of an existing tax, one that dates back to the mid-1980s.

Information can be found at www.goodstreetsfortcollins.com. The campaign is being led by Citizens for a Sustainable Economy, a Chamber-initiated nonprofit. The Chamber supports Ballot Question 2.

Four of the seven City Council seats are up for election. Specifically, there are elections for mayor and three city council races including Districts 2 (east-central Fort Collins), 4 (southwest Fort Collins) and 6 (northwest Fort Collins). In the past six elections there has been an average of 10 candidates on the ballot. This year there are nine.

There is a strong contrast between candidates that are problem solvers and the “aginners” — those running against change and progress.

Don’t like population growth? Kill jobs by opposing the expansion or relocation of companies like Woodward. Don’t like traffic congestion? Oppose street projects like Lincoln Avenue anyway. Don’t like the proposed on-campus Colorado State University stadium? Make sure city government puts up as many obstacles as possible. And so it goes.

Missing in all of that are real solutions to community challenges such as creating good-paying jobs.

Fortunately there are some experienced problem-solvers running for election who would offer genuine community leadership. Three of them have a combined 30 years of experience on the City Council and were repeatedly re-elected by voters.

I invite you to visit www.fortcollinschamber.com for the Chamber’s endorsements. You can also read candidate questionnaires and watch videos of their interviews.

This is a move-forward or move-backward election for the community. Passing Ballot Questions 1 and 2 and electing problem-solvers to the city council would move Fort Collins forward.

Column originally published by The Fort Collins Coloradoan March 6, 2015