On The Ballot: Boulder Votes On 2A & 2B, Longmont on 300
On Nov. 6 Coloradans will decide the legality of marijuana and putting a cap on campaign spending while Front Range communities consider taxes, bonds and fracking bans.
Residents of Longmont will decide if hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” a drilling process that uses high pressure fluid to extract oil and gas from rock deposits deep underground, should be permitted within city limits.
Ballot Question 300 would ban all hydraulic fracturing in Longmont city limits and would also ban any disposal of the waste created by fracking, including open pit storage.
Opponents say that if ballot question 300 passes the city will be facing litigation on the ban, while supporters say the ban is necessary to protect Longmont from the environmental effects of fracking.
Voters in Boulder are being asked if two existing tax measures should be continued.
Ballot measure 2A seeks to extend an electricity tax that supports Boulder's Climate Action Plan (CAP) which provides Boulder homes and businesses with green energy incentives and energy efficient programs.
If the measure passes the original rate of taxation- $0.0049 per kilowatt-hour (KWH) for residential customers and $0.0009 per KWH for commercial- approved in 2006 would be extended for another six years, until March 2018. The city of Boulder says the CAP tax rate costs the average home $21 per year and the average businesses $96 per year, and is charged as part of a regular Xcel bill.
The revenue from the CAP tax has been used to improve energy efficiency in 4,000 homes, 1800 rental units and 100 businesses along with decreasing solid waste emissions by 12.9 percent in 2010, according to the city of Boulder website. The CAP tax has not been enough to reach the city's Kyoto Protocol goals of getting greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels and has been criticized for not having more of the tax revenue go toward incentives rather than marketing efforts. A report by the Rocky Mountain Institute commissioned by the city concluded that the cost-effectiveness of the CAP tax would increase since the startup costs are over.
The CAP tax would raise approximately $1.8 million a year to fund enhanced residential and commercial green energy programs, commercial energy audits, solar rebates and grants and innovation for renewable energy in all sectors.
Boulder's other tax extension, ballot measure 2B, asks if residents are willing to keep a 25 cent sales tax for another 20 years.
The Parks and Recreation tax was first approved in 1995 and would extend the 25 cent sales tax until 2035. The existing tax allowed Boulder to purchase and develop Valmont City Park, which has gained attention for its bike park, along with further developing neighborhood parks and renovating recreation centers. It also provided the money to purchase lands for mountain parks and develop the Foothill Community Park, along with buying 350 acres in north Boulder.
The City of Boulder says that extending 2B would allow for the development of the southern area of Valmont City Park, improvements on athletic fields in Stazio, Pleasantview and Foothills Community Parks and improvements to neighborhood parks.
The tax would also provide funding to upgrade recreation centers, develop a new aquatic facility, and upgrade the Boulder Reservoir as well as provide maintenance of Parks and Recreation facilities.