Council supports 5A

Nichols effectively makes her case with councilmembers

[  By Mark Reaman  ]

While expressing understanding for the burden a property tax increase would have on some local citizens, a majority of the Crested Butte town council on Monday approved a resolution in support of the Gunnison Watershed School District’s $95 million bond measure that is on this fall’s election ballot. 

The school district is pursuing ballot initiative 5A to address a needed expansion for the Crested Butte Community School along with improvements to safety issues at every district school building and some other expenditures such as expanded vocational programs. The resolution that passed 6-1 with councilmember Anna Fenerty dissenting, formalizes town support for the measure and encourages Crested Butte citizens to vote in favor of 5A.

Several councilmembers who had previously expressed some hesitation with approving such a town resolution said they had met with school district superintendent Leslie Nichols and become convinced of the necessity of the bond issue.

“I was personally in support and now feel comfortable that the town council should support it,” said councilmember Mallika Magner.

“I understand citizens will have hard choices with property tax issues, but this is important. Supporting education is one of the best things we can do as a community,” said councilperson Jason MacMillan.

“I understand the struggle of rising property taxes,” added councilmember Beth Goldstone who works for the school district. “There are a lot of great pieces that are part of this bond. I especially like the Pathways expansion that broadens the vocational choices to include things like hospitality service training. That will help the local economy.”

“I appreciate that too,” said councilmember Chris Haver. “Yeah, it hurts to pay more money but if there is any place to put additional tax money, this is the place.”

Fenerty was not on the same page as the rest of the council and at the previous meeting had brought up how the rising costs would be passed on to renters and lower income employees, “but I know I can’t convince the rest of you so I’m ready to go forward.”

“I’m in favor of supporting our local school system,” said councilmember Gabi Prochaska. “Much of the health of our community is tied to our school. I understand the burden of more property taxes and it is not an easy decision for the community.”

The council approved the resolution 6-1.

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