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Montezuma County Commissioners Back Away From Broadband Tax

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A sales-tax question apparently will not be on the November ballot in Montezuma County after all.

On Monday, the county commissioners appeared to back away from their previous decision to ask voters in the coming election for a one-percent sales tax to fund a $39 million broadband project. However, residents will still be asked to approve a measure allowing the county to provide telecommunications services. Commission attorney John Baxter said time was running out on the opportunity to seek the tax because the state Department of Revenue wanted the county’s resolution by the end of July and it had not been written. He said the ballot question would need to define the parameters of the project and the cost of the bonds needed. Another question creating a broadband authority to oversee the revenues would also have to be written. With commission chair Larry Don Suckla absent, commissioners Keenan Ertel and James Lambert agreed it might be preferable to hold a special election, at a cost of about $10,000, on only the tax issue because the November ballot is already very long. The county has already issued a request for proposals for an investment banking firm to provide municipal-bond underwriting services. Administrator Melissa Brunner said the county will go ahead and select a firm in August to gather financial information.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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