Foothills tax increase defeated again

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By AJ Vicens

For the second time in less than two years, the Foothills Park & Recreation District has seen a bid to raise taxes defeated at the polls.

By a vote of 54.3 percent to 45.7 percent, district voters rejected a proposed 3-mill increase to a levy of 10.65 mills, which the district said was needed for capital repairs, equipment replacement, operational costs and maintenance.

The actual vote count was 8,163 opposed and 6,867 in favor, according to Foothills' website.

The 39 percent increase would have cost the owner of a $300,000 home an additional $72 per year. It would have cost an additional $261 per year for the owner of commercial property valued at $300,000.

The district failed in its bid for a 1.5-mill increase in November 2006.

Voters also elected three new directors to the foothills board. They are Terri Maulik, Jill Nunes and Keith Sutton. The new board members will hit the ground running, as they begin work May 13.

“We're going to have to change the way we do things, for one thing," said Yanic LeRolland, director of IT for Foothills. LeRolland was speaking before the results were tallied after being asked what would happen if the tax proposal failed. "We will not be able to do what we described to the voters in the ballot."

The district has said it would be forced to make service reductions without the tax increase. The district receives about 70 percent of its current revenues from fees, admissions and rentals, and about 30 percent from taxes. Tax revenues help support parks and trails, while programs such as golf, cultural arts and fitness classes and a range of services are either self-supporting or help support other program areas.

LeRolland said the district likely will try again to get voter approval for an increase.

"More than likely, we'll have to go back to the voters and ask again," LeRolland said. He did not speculate as to when that would be.

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com.