No hidden mill levy

Colorado Mountain College has been in the news of late, on ballot language and closing the campus at the Buena Vista airport.

The question of whether or not Salida School District R-32-J should join the Colorado Mountain College tax district does not include language noting the property tax mill levy involved in joining the CMC district.

CMC applies a 3.997 mill levy (.003997) in areas that are part of the college’s tax district.

Should voters in School District R-32-J approve the question in November, it means property owners would pay the additional mill levy.

According to CMC President and CEO Carrie Besnette Hauser, because R-32-J voters will be deciding whether to become a part of the CMC program, with its existing tax, Taxpayer Bill of Rights rules do not apply. Joining the college district means voters accept the additional tax that comes with the CMC tax district.

Much has already been said about the Salida School District joining the CMC district. The discussion and announcements have in most instances noted the mill levy.

Not having the mill levy included in the ballot language is a legal election technicality. It’s not as if someone is attempting to pass a tax question without informing voters of the potential cost.

In fact, literature put out by CMC relating to the election notes the cost to property owners: $28.78 per $100,000 of assessed value for residential property and $115.91 per $100,000 of assessed value for commercial and industrial property, based on 2018 assessed rates.

The question before voters in November will be whether or not to join the CMC district and the benefits joining the district will bring at the cost of 3.997 mills to property owners.

The question relating to CMC’s closure of the Chaffee County building in Buena Vista will be the subject of news coverage in the next few days and possibly a future editorial comment.

Rain storm damage

The intense thunderstorm that brought an inch of rain to parts of Salida the evening of Sept. 3 damaged several trails in the Arkansas Hills trail network.

Salida Mountain Trails’ Mike Smith said most of the trails in the Arkansas Hills northeast of town were affected, with some sections completely washed out and others that are impassable in some areas.

SMT’s monthly “ShinDig” volunteer work day coming up on Saturday will focus on repairs to Backbone and North Backbone trails. Salida High School’s mountain bike team will be making repairs to the Rusty Lung Trail on Friday.

Cyclists are encouraged to use the Methodist Mountain Trail System, which was largely unaffected by the storm, until repairs can be made to the Arkansas Hills system.

Turns out the storm was remarkably localized. Residents living just a couple of miles southwest of the city, for example, did not record any rain from the storm.

While downtown and the Arkansas Hills came under the downpour, Methodist Mountain trails and nearby neighborhoods received light rain and in some instance no precipitation at all.

... Valley drying out

Speaking of rain, the Upper Arkansas Valley will be drying out in the week ahead.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for mostly clear skies and seasonal temperatures, highs in the mid to upper 70s and lows in the mid to lower 40s with only a 10 percent chance of precipitation on Saturday.

— MJB