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The true and false of metro districts for Archuleta County.
True: The county commissioners have gone on public record as being unable to maintain the 327 miles of public roads in Archuleta County to reasonable standards under current taxing and revenue parameters.
True: Having safe roads that are regularly maintained, plowed and even upgraded are the basics for which we currently pay property taxes in Archuleta County. However, given the position of county leaders and the financial position of county government, the unlikely possibility of the county being able to increase property taxes for use by Road and Bridge and the continuing decline of county revenues, alternative resources need to be explored at all levels.
True: In order to provide for the safety of our roads and the protection of our property values, there are many who believe that metropolitan districts may be the best solution to solving the problems that our local government cannot seem to manage.
True: The five metro districts that have been in existence in Archuleta County for many years have, for the most part, been most successful in providing their communities with the services for which they were formed.
True: The biggest potential cost confronting the county now and down the “road” will be the maintaining of and the eventual resurfacing of some 44 miles of paved primary roads which are necessary for police, fire, emergency vehicles, school buses, tourists and local traffic.
False: It is conceivable that any given metro district with these primary paved roads winding their way through their jurisdiction would be able to raise the necessary funds to keep these roads in serviceable condition.
True: Unless the county begins set aside funding resources available to them from existing prior settlement funds, portions of property tax designated Road and Bridge funds, portions of annual Highway Users Tax Funds and other opportunities, the availability of funding the needs of these 44 miles of paved primary roads will not magically appear when they are needed. In fact, it will be easier for the county to attract matching funds and grants once they have squirreled away designated resources.
False: Archuleta County neighborhoods will automatically step up to the plate, spend the time and money necessary to form metro districts and vote to tax their property owners for services that many believe they should now be receiving.
True: Neighborhoods will step up to the plate when they believe that their extra dollars will provide them with their own power to provide their communities with safe accessible roads and the long term protection of their property values that cannot or will not be provided by local government.
True: Nothing will happen unless the county government provides real and meaningful incentives encouraging neighborhoods to form improvement districts. This support will have to take many forms to ease the costs and efforts involved in forming as well as operating these districts. In addition, the BoCC must provide real structural assistance to not only help pave the way, but provide a fair economic formula that will allow districts to share state and other funding proportionally.
Alan L. Powdermaker
Metro District Exploratory Committee