Castle Rock: The town council delays ballot question to fund a renewable water supply infrastructure


From the Castle Rock News Press (Rhonda Moore):

Castle Rock Town Council will hold off on an election date for a ballot question to fund long-term water with a property tax increase and TABOR question.

Councilmembers on Dec. 6 opted against the town’s original plan to ask voters for a decision in the April 2012 election pending a recommendation from town staff on the preferred water provider.

Castle Rock is in the process of reviewing four proposals from water providers to secure a long-term renewable water supply that is expected to cost up to $200 million. The town’s original plan to invest in the WISE proposal, a coalition of south metro municipalities and metro districts to buy water from Denver and Aurora, was derailed earlier this year when other water providers decried the absence of a competitive bid process. The resulting public bid invitation netted four proposals to provide water to Castle Rock. Those proposals are under review by town staff, which is creating a comparative analysis to take to town council for consideration. Until that analysis is complete and town council has made its selection, the town cannot accurately tell voters what they would be paying for in an election question, said Ron Redd, Castle Rock director of utilities.

“It was always our intention to go to the voters with a complete project and have everything identified,” Redd said. “Voters like to see an actual project versus thoughts, ideas or studies. The perception would be the town would be given a blank check. Recent history shows that hasn’t been very successful at the voting booth.”[…]

While town staff favors a November 2012 ballot question, election strategists recommend against a property tax question in a general election, Redd said…

“If you want a tax to pass you’d better start getting the public involved in how that plan is going to come together,” said Ben Cox, a Castle Rock resident who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. “So they can see we’re not buying into something like Hess Reservoir, (which) looks to the public right now that we made a very big expenditure with no idea as to how we are going to fill it.”

More Denver Basin aquifer system coverage here.

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