Voters agree to “deBruce” Town of Meeker’s property taxes

MEEKER — The ballot measure to “deBruce” the town’s property taxes passed 275-102. The measure means the town will able to collect the full 9.781 mills of property taxes without Tabor restrictions. A total of 378 voters participated in the mail-ballot election, a 34 percent voter turnout.
“It’s not as high as we expected, but it’s certainly higher than our last election,” said Town Clerk Lisa Cook.
Uncontested on the ballot were three board of trustee positions that will be filled by John Strate, Katelin Waldref and Bob Omer. Current mayor pro tem Mandi Etheridge will step up into the mayoral seat.
At the election night meeting, downtown property owner Jim Riegel asked the board to reconsider the decision to close access to the alley on Park Street between Sixth and Seventh streets. Riegel is the owner of the Riegel Building just south of the post office. The alley access was closed in order to add angled parking spaces along Park Street. Riegel maintains he was not notified about the decision to change the alley access until it was already done.
“Closing off that alley has created some problems in an already problematic area. I think it’s affected the landowners in that area in a negative way. It gets a tremendous amount of traffic,” he said.
Etheridge addressed Riegel’s concerns by saying, “As a board, there were people at the public meetings whose suggestions prompted us to make that decision. We certainly were not attempting to cause any personal offense to any of the landowners.”
Mayor Steve Loshbaugh agreed the town needs to work on effectively getting information out to the community. He asked Riegel to organize other property owners affected by the alley closure and bring the matter back to the board at a future date.
The board heard and approved a request to change the zoning from the proposed Escondido Subdivision from agricultural to rural residential. Rural residential zoning is designed for properties where city water and sewer may not be available and requires lots to be large enough to accommodate a septic system. The Meeker Sanitation District and the public water system have confirmed they are both available to the proposed subdivision.
According to Town Planner Denise Sheridan, the town received a letter of concern regarding the zoning change from the Bureau of Land Management regarding the need for drainage maintenance and wildfire mitigation in the area.