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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Summer bummer

During July and August, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners meets on Thursdays only. I recommended that we do that all year, since there is not enough real work to do. My colleagues did not want to admit publicly that it is a part-time job, particularly when the salary was just increased 38 percent, starting with those elected this November. Commissioners elected this fall will be paid 97 percent as much as the governor-ridiculous!Of course, our work “day” (averaging under three hours) is padded with make-work agenda items to make us look busy. The latest silly resolution was “Western Wear Day,” in which we solemnly urge county employees to pose as cowboys and cowgirls. (I am updating a list of these resolutions on my Web site.) WHERE do political figures get the authority to tell employees to dress according to a theme? HOW is that county business?My colleagues also go on those tax-paid junkets to resorts. There was another one in June. I have never attended at your expense, and I never will. The board chair recently decided that the taxpayers should even pay for lunch for a board meeting. One other commissioner and I declined to feed at the public trough (literally). You would think that commissioners could afford food on our current salary of $63,200. During that lunch break, I stayed in my office and ate grapes. No, they weren’t sour grapes!*************You may have read that I opposed the Falcon Fire District tax increase on May 2. At the Safeway, I handed out fliers I wrote against the HUGE tax increase. FFD wanted to DOUBLE its district property taxes. I was criticized by our board chair (she does that a lot!) for fighting a tax increase in a district where I cannot vote. I call that constituent service. I did the research, I paid for the two-page, fact-filled flier, and I urged people to vote “NO.” I am pleased that my efforts led to the defeat of that tax hike. I pledged as a candidate that I would oppose tax increases, and I have kept my promise. By that one act of resistance, I saved my constituents over one million dollars a year in higher taxes.I later spoke with Chief Trent Harwig and offered to discuss with his directors better ways to fund the fire department. He seemed open to the idea, but no meeting has yet been arranged. For your information, during the past 10 years in FFD, population growth increased at under HALF the rate that FFD revenue did!Peyton Fire District is trying an even bigger money grab this November. They want to almost TRIPLE their property tax. Call me and I will help you defeat that as well.*****************On those topics, during the past 18 months, I have tried unsuccessfully to get the county to compute what level of impact fees would be proper for new construction. Growth should pay its own way. Long-timers should not pay for school buildings, fire stations, road widening and other demands created by new subdivisions. That is a taxpayer subsidy. I oppose subsidies as distortions of free markets, just as I oppose tax rate increases. All residents should pay to maintain existing government facilities, but the capital cost of new buildings should be paid by those who create the need. Those fees should be added into the price of the house, which is artificially low and therefore creates an artificially higher demand for this tax-subsidized product.Another way to address this problem is to replace fire district taxes with service fees.Under 10 percent of their calls are for actual fires. Those should be billed to fire insurance companies. Most are for traffic accidents and should be billed to auto insurance. Medical calls should be billed to health insurance. Today, poor taxpayers subsidize big insurance companies! This reform would take a change in state law, which I favor. Some tax would have to remain to cover those who lack insurance and can’t pay their bill, but it would be much less than our property taxes today.****************IF you want to DO something about county, fire district, or school district policies, you should support Amendment 38, the Petition Rights Amendment, already on this November’s state ballot. It will FINALLY allow you to petition those governments on their legislative policies. You CANNOT petition them today! Isn’t that shocking?Visit and read the Talking Points essay. To steel yourself for the impending special interest attacks on our right to petition, read The Dirty Dozen, which refutes 12 “whoppers” told by developers, politicians and the rest of that crowd. They don’t want you to be able to vote to reform government. When you’re done with both articles, 1) order bumper stickers for all your cars, 2) write a letter to the editor (include your local paper, the Gazette, Denver Post, and Rocky Mountain News), 3) offer to distribute fliers in October, 4) tell everyone on your e-mail list, etc. Freedom is not free.If you were half as disgusted as I was about what the Supreme Court did to the petition to restrict benefits to illegal aliens-if you signed that petition, the property rights petition, the marriage petition, the judicial term limits petition-then you believe in your right to petition! Now is the time to protect it. Get involved. TODAY.***************Contact me at (719) 520-6412, by e-mail at, or send a letter to me at 27 E. Vermijo Ave. Colo. Spgs. CO 80903. Audiotapes of all BOCC meetings, both simulcast and in archives, are available at Back issues of my monthly reports are at my Web site,

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