Jefferson County has one remaining meeting scheduled as they wind down their speaking tour and decide whether to push a ballot issue to eliminate or suspend a portion of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).
In 2019, a wide margin of voters turned down Jefferson County’s request to allow the county government to keep taxpayer rebates, which would have resulted in higher property taxes. The refund mechanism is usually applied by lowering our property tax bills. In 2021, Jefferson County Commissioners chose a different tactic as they warmed up their outreach campaign, stating it was time to “educate voters.” Instead of lowering the property tax, the commissioners, decided without any public discussion, to send individual paper checks to each property owner resulting in over $200,000 in mailing costs. Each check was accompanied by a prejudiced letter alerting the recipient that they could learn more about TABOR impacts to services at the county website.
Jefferson County, like many other governments, received large portions of federal CARES and ARPA funds which hasn’t been given much attention in this budget discussion, though the county blames much of the issue on the economic shutdown. Millions in ARPA funds are still available and rules allow it to be used for COVID recovery. Yet, Jefferson County staff recently stated they weren’t aware that the funds could be used for economic recovery and didn’t publicly bring this option forward. A staff briefing occurred in mid-March of this year, months after their campaign to eliminate TABOR was already underway.
The public meeting is:
Monday, May 9
10200 West 20th Avenue, Lakewood, CO 80215
Natalie Menten, a Lakewood resident, is a longtime activist and former elected RTD director.
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