Voters to decide on tax allocation, extension

November election could shift some funding from justice center to roads

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In September, Douglas County commissioners approved a ballot question asking voters to extend part of a sales tax and reallocate it from the justice center to transportation.

The county's 1% sales tax is currently split among open space, transportation and the justice center. The Justice Center Sales Tax is 0.43%, transportation is 0.40% and open space is 0.17%.

If approved, the ballot item would move 0.18% from the Justice Center Sales Tax to road projects and halt 0.13% of the tax from expiring in December 2020.

The tax reallocation would provide additional funding of about $12.5 million per year for road improvements.

The ballot question comes after two years of controversy around the subject. The sheriff's office was strongly against the plan to remove funding from the justice center when Commissioner Lora Thomas originally proposed to reallocate 0.23% to transportation in 2017. At that time, the sheriff's office said it needed the funding for planned projects.

After the question requesting the 0.18% change passed Sept. 3, Undersheriff Holly Nicholson-Kluth told Colorado Community Media that the sheriff's office would remain neutral and stay out of the subject.

“It's the commissioners' responsibility to budget appropriately,” Nicholson-Kluth said about the vote. “This was a decision they made.”

A list of transportation projects for the next 20 years, which would be fast-tracked if the ballot measure passes, is available on the county website at douglas.co.us by clicking "About Us" then "Breaking News" and looking for "County Commissioners advance Transportation Funding Question to November 2019 ballot."

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