All Ken-Caryl homeowners should be considered
Certain Ken-Caryl Ranch Master Association board members, Open Space committee members and members of the secretive Trails Club want to expand and re-route our private trails at the expense of all homeowners. This will entail substantial additional cost and create an influx of non-Ken-Caryl trail users. A very few want to spend the dues of the majority for their own narcissistic purposes — a classic case of the “tail wagging the dog.”
If elected to the KCRMA board, Kane, Philips and Wellborn will provide transparent fiscal responsibility after hearing the concerns of all homeowners. We need board members who consider the interests of all homeowners, rather than the interests of a select few. Please vote and let everyone know how you want your board to conduct business.
School district, union must find ways to save money
In an opinion essay titled “Chatfield plans don’t hold water,” Paula Noonan suggests that $40 million should be transferred from the Colorado Water Conservation Board to pay for more education funding instead of being used for the Chatfield reallocation project. Noonan seems to offer a “false choice” between increasing water storage and funding education.
This is a lengthy recession with no quick end in sight. Estimates for “real” unemployment rates hover near 17 percent, while many have taken pay cuts or settled for part-time work. Colorado experienced $2.2 billion in revenue shortfalls in 2010, with $1.3 billion anticipated for 2011. Housing values continue to drop while we pay “fee” increases passed by the legislature and former governor Bill Ritter.
Meanwhile, the 2010 Jefferson County School District’s comprehensive annual finance report noted governmentwide revenues to the district actually increased by $21 million. Unfortunately, expenses increased by $24 million, fueled by a $12 million increase in expenses for salaries and PERA benefits.
This increase came despite the elimination of 107 positions. The district also received $25 million in additional funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) to be spent over the next two years, as well as $16 million from the Federal Education Jobs Funds Program designed to protect teaching positions from cuts. The district will also be receiving a $32.8 million Teacher Incentive Fund grant to be utilized over the next five years to develop a strategic compensation program. Amendment 23 required state education funding to match the rate of inflation plus 1 percent from 2000 to 2011. In reality, statewide per pupil spending via the total School Finance Act program grew by 15 percent in “real” dollars ($2.23 billion to $3.65 billion).
In November voters sent a message. Deficit spending protected public sector jobs but left taxpayers with $5 trillion more in debt. Every dollar spent must be scrutinized. Unnecessary programs and departments must be downsized or eliminated. 87 percent of Jeffco Schools’ general fund goes for wages and benefits. Contract negotiations will be taking place this year, and the board and union must understand the economic realities we face. It becomes a question of balance and stewardship of finite taxpayer resources. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the answer. Growing communities in Colorado need water for business, residential and agriculture growth, and all are important to maintaining a healthy tax base. Taxpayers should support all efforts by the Jeffco school board and the union to reduce costs and create efficiencies.