Dear Editor:

I have been reading the survey from the Salida School District, exploring the possibility of annexation into the Colorado Mountain College Tax District and a $25.1 million bond measure for building construction.

Several comments:

1. The document, which is paid for by our tax money, is generally biased and paints the rosiest possible picture of this project in an attempt to mold public opinion to vote “yes.”

2. In questions Q9 and Q11 in the Public Opinion Survey, it says the tax impact is applied to “a home’s estimated market value as determined by the county assessor.” Currently, school taxes are applied to the assessed value of the home. Where is the assessor supposed to find the “estimated market value”? Does the assessor know they will be responsible for this? lists an estimated market value, but these figures are computer generated (who knows where and how) and can be wildly inaccurate. Significantly, market value is usually 10-30 percent higher than assessed value.

Is the proposal to use the estimated market value a ploy to generate more funds?

3. The cost of this project is expressed in cost per $100,000 in home value, which tends to minimize the true impact. lists the average sale price of homes in Salida as $400,000. Therefore, if both the annexation and bond questions pass, the tax increase for an average home in Salida is $284/year.

4. Renters are not necessarily immune. Commercial property is taxed at 2.5 times the rate of residential property. The owner of a $400,000 duplex zoned as a commercial rental would see a tax increase of $711/year. If passed on to two renters, rent would increase by $30/month each.

5. The survey return address is the Salida School District. Shouldn’t the data be compiled by an independent third party? If employees of the Salida School District are biased toward approval of this project, how can we expect a fair accounting of the results?

6. I was told that the residents of Howard, who pay Salida school taxes, will not be allowed to vote on this issue but will be expected to pay the increased tax if it is approved. Can this possibly be true? If not, the school district needs to correct the record. If true, it is a major injustice inflicted on our neighbors to the east.

7. If the value of your property doubles in eight-10 years, the amount of tax you pay will also double.

8. The bond for construction would sunset (go away) after 20 years. The tax increase due to joining the CMC District is forever.

I would like for a representative of School District R-32-J to explain to everyone exactly how this all works. Please give both sides of the story so we can make a fully informed choice.

Keri Kelso,