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Open Lands ballot measure

At their Tuesday, October 4 meeting the Winter Park Town Council discussed the Open Lands, Rivers and Trails ballot measure.

The measure would impose a countywide sales tax levy of 0.3 percent that expires in 10 years to be used solely for: keeping water in the Colorado River and other rivers (such as the Fraser River) available for agriculture, ranching, and outdoor recreation; conserving agricultural lands, natural areas, scenic open lands, wildlife habitat, wetlands, and river access through acquisition; and maintaining hiking and biking trails.

Colorado Headwaters Land Trust Board of Directors member Nick Meyer discussed the measure with the winter Park Town Council. Meyer said that the increased sales tax would generate about $750,000 a year for conservation of water, land, and trail maintenance. The average cost per household would be about $60 per year, or about $5 a month.

If the question passes, the BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) will appoint an Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Advisory committee called the “Open Lands Advisory Committee.

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The committee would be composed of nine members—three residents from unincorporated Grand County, one from each commissioner district, and a person nominated by each municipality in the County.

The committee would convene twice a year to make recommendations to the BOCC regarding the disbursement of money from the Open Lands Fund, review applications for money, and discuss major trail maintenance programs. The committee would be all volunteer.

Meyer pointed out that most of Grand County’s peer counties have similar programs and measures to fund these kinds of projects.

“We have an opportunity to conserve what we have here,” Meyer said. “We’ve got a beautiful county with lots of great views and habitat. Lets make some investment here while we can, before it’s too late.”

If the measure passes, the tax would go into effect on January 1, 2017.


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