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Fountain re-evaluates future of funding for transportation needs

Some Fountain leaders say that several overdue transportation improvements will be delayed even longer after voters rejected a funding measure on Election Day.

Richard Applegate

"Meanwhile, we keep growing and those projects become even more important," said Richard Applegate, a member of the Fountain Roadway Focus Group, a citizens group which promoted the measure.

Ohio Ave. at Jimmy Camp Rd.

Fountain leaders asked voters to continue the 0.35% portion of a sales tax that voters passed in 2008 and would have generated -- based on the economy -- between $600,000 and $1.5 million annually for capital road projects.

"We had a recession early on and by the time we got enough money to do some of the projects, cost estimates skyrocketed because the recession was over," Applegate said.

Comanche Village Dr. at U.S. 85/87

That portion of the tax expired this week, and in November voters rejected an extension by a margin of 57% to 43%.

A Facebook poll of 450 people before the election showed that two-thirds of respondents supported extending the tax.

Illinois Ave. at U.S. 85/87

"I think some negative comments on social media may have turned people against it," Applegate said. "We thought we'd done a good job of educating voters about why we needed the tax and where the money would go."

Applegate said three major projects would have cost around $4.5 million: Upgrading the railroad crossing at Comanche Village Drive and U.S. 85/87; building a new crossing at Indiana Avenue and 85/87, replacing an existing nearby crossing beside a school; and building a roundabout at Ohio Avenue and Jimmy Camp Road.

Duckwood Rd. at U.S. 85/87

The town's only funding option for now, is to apply for state and federal grants.

"We'll bring a tax before the voters again," Applegate said. "I'm not sure if we'll do it this year. We'll probably ask for a lower tax. The rejection means we also won't be able to do other needed projects for a while."

Dino Angeline lives at the corner of Indiana Avenue and Race Street, close to the proposed location for a new rail crossing.

Dino Angeline

"I live on the east end of Indiana Ave. that has two dirt roads," he said. "I was hoping the city would pave them to cut down on the dust and to be able to pave when it snows. And the new crossing would be safer because it would be a block farther from Aragon Elementary School."

Lynwood Leverette, a realtor who owns property in Fountain, said asking voters to renew the existing sales tax wasn't the best strategy.

Lynwood Leverette

"With all the homes that are being built here and the way we're growing, a property tax would have been the best way to go," he said."

Article Topic Follows: Money

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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