Roads measure appears on way to passing in Douglas County


A ballot item that would reallocate a portion of the county's 1% sales tax from the justice center to roads appeared to be on its way to passing in the Nov. 5 election.

The measure would extend 0.13% of the sales tax, preventing it from sunsetting in December 2020, and would move 0.18% of the tax from the justice center to roads.

Beginning January 1, 2020, roads would receive 0.58% of the sales tax, the justice center 0.25% and open space will remain at 0.17%. This will provide an additional $12.5 million per year for roads in the county.

As of 9:30 on Election Night, Ballot Issue 1A received almost 52% of the vote.

"Tonight’s win sends the message that voters understand better roads lead to better lives,” County Commissioner Roger Partridge said. “Voters also resonated with the message that 1A does not come with a tax hike. It is a smart policy solution to a complicated issue. We are glad that voters of all backgrounds and party affiliations educated themselves on the measure and got behind it.”

In 2017, Commissioner Lora Thomas proposed moving 0.23% of the sales tax from the justice center to roads, a move that was strongly opposed by the sheriff's office. The measure failed and in June of this year, another proposal was made to move 0.13% of the tax to roads.

Thomas voted against the proposal, saying it wouldn't be enough.

In September, the commissioners unanimously approved the ballot question that appeared in the Nov. 5 election.

Approval of ballot item 1A would mean a list of transportation projects aiming to improve congestion in the county will be fast-tracked.

A committee for the ballot item, called Better Roads 4 Douglas County, spent nearly $38,000 on Facebook advertisements, road signs and a letter campaign supporting the measure, according to their financial reports.

The committee raised a total of $108,000, with major contributors including Sterling Ranch with a $60,000 donation and MDC Holdings contributing $20,000.

As of 5 p.m. on election day, Douglas County had already exceeded its voter turnout from 2017 by more than 5,000 votes. About 45% of votes came in on Monday and Tuesday, according to the county's website.


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