Ballot issue 2A authorizes $20 million dollars in debt to go towards the purchase of the valley floor currently in condemnation. These funds will be paid back over 30 years and depending on interest rates varying from 5.5 percent to 8.5 percent will cost current and future residents (from the Open Space fund) between $41 million and $56 respectively. If this debt is issued, it will be the largest expenditure by the Town of Telluride in its history. Over the next 30 years 15 different councils (at least) will serve this community. Each will wrestle with budget issues in October just as we did last Tuesday in the council chambers. They will weigh varying requests for funds from a myriad of sources: affordable housing, arts and culture groups, business community, town departments including parks & rec, marshals department, public works, etc. etc. etc. As they sit there, the only thing I can tell you for sure is that they will not have enough money to satisfy all of the requests and demands from the public and from within government. Choices to fund community needs can and will be funded by future debt offerings and will be affected by the fact that 20 percent of all revenues to the town have been spoken for.
This inevitability is the reality of what is missing in the “voting yes on 2A will never raise your taxes” statements. Surely, over the next 30 years if we had the 41 to 56 million dollars to spend and did not have 20 percent of all revenues to the town tied up, your government would not have to ask that taxes be raised for future public needs / benefits.
This is not a position statement on ballot issue 2A, rather it is an honest perspective from your mayor. Will it raise your taxes if you vote yes? it will certainly affect every major financial decision made by the town for the next 30 years and will indeed be a contributing factor to decisions about bringing additional bond issues before you which may raise your taxes.
So, the real questions are: Is it expensive? Yes, hugely. Is it important? Yes, hugely. Can we afford it? Yes. Is it worth it? To many of us, it is vital. We will all decide on November 7. Please vote.