Letters to the Editor: October 2, 2008

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Dear Editor,
EnCana has donated a pig they bought at the fair and it is greatly appreciated. We were down to about 10 pounds of ground deer meat in the freezer. We have two freezers this year and another offered if we need it. We are hoping to fill them this year, as last year we only had one and I had to refuse some donations and we ran out of meat.
Times are getting tougher with the cost of living going up each month. We are getting more calls from people needing food. We are not getting the donations of food products that we did last year. The market does not call us anymore, and we will need a lot more meat to get us through this winter.
I know that everybody is feeling the effects of the rising prices. I had hoped that the grants we had gotten would last but I am having to drive to the warehouse in Grand Junction in order to buy what little meat they have each month, and hope I get there before the other food banks in the western area do.
If anybody has meat in the freezer they want to get rid of please call me at 675-8910 home, 620-2305 cell or 675-8476 work, contact Darlene Feller or leave a message.
The food bank provides food and any household items donated to needy families. We do not have room for furniture but anybody that has things in their garage they do not need let me know because we do get calls for beds, dressers, table and chairs.
Summer is over and it will be winter before we know it so anybody that has children’s coats, gloves, snow pants, and snow boots we will take them.
Darlene Feller, director, Rangely Food Bank

Dear Editor,
I am writing to express concern with and opposition toward Amendment 58. Amendment 58 proposes to eliminate the property tax credit energy companies take against their severance tax liability, thereby increasing severance taxes. The additional revenues realized by the state would then be used to fund college scholarships, improve wildlife habitat, fund renewable energy projects and, to a lesser degree, transportation, and drinking and wastewater projects. It was originally claimed that this amendment would do no damage to (“hold harmless”) impacted local governments who receive direct distributions and grant funding from severance taxes. That claim has since been dropped.
The lack of broad-based support for this amendment is indicative of the manner in which this amendment was formulated. It was put together in isolation by a small group with special interests, and then presented as a finished product to stakeholders and voters alike. Local governments, the Colorado Municipal League and Colorado Counties, Inc., were allowed no input. Institutions of higher education and their governing and regulatory bodies were not consulted. Trade and business organizations such chambers of commerce and Club 20 were given no voice in framing this initiative. My first point is that an in-depth study and analysis is needed for decision makers to fully understand this taxation issue and all of the affected stakeholders should be at the table when additional revenues, if any, are allocated.
Northwest Colorado alone has a projected infrastructure shortfall, above and beyond current funding levels, in excess of $300 million during the next 20 years. This anticipated shortfall is a result of the development of the region’s gas resources to meet the national need for clean-burning fuel. My second point is that severance taxes were enacted, in part, for the need to mitigate the impacts of extraction and yet Amendment 58 would raise the level of taxation and divert needed funds to arguably less relevant projects which are at best only peripherally connected to with extraction.
I encourage readers to vote “no” on Amendment 58. The severance tax can be changed more effectively, if warranted, through modifying or eliminating the netback provision in the severance tax statute. Also, the use of new revenues to best meet Colorado’s needs deserves a broader discussion and prioritization. Finally, our legislators and local elected officials need to be involved. Let’s give representative government an opportunity to act on this important issue. Please vote “no” on Amendment 58.
Ken Parsons,
Rio Blanco County

Dear Editor,
I am writing to express my support for the upcoming vote on Meeker’s school bond issue. I believe Meeker has been in need of a new elementary school for many years. With the current influx of gas and oil industry, now seems to be a good time to update and improve our schools through a bond.
With Meeker’s population growing, improving our schools could be a good way to attract future residents. School quality is a major part of the decision for families when they are relocating. In my opinion, upgrading our schools would promote healthy growth for our community.
It is estimated that businesses and industry will pay 80 percent of the bond retirement. As part owner of a family business in Meeker, I am aware that business taxes will increase more than homeowners’ taxes. It is my belief that with the growth of our community, there will be enough benefits to offset the added tax for businesses.
I am supporting the upcoming bond issue. Please vote in November to give our future a school they can be proud of.
James C. Watt