Estes Park Refuses Ballot Access For Citizen Initiative, Citizen Files Suit
A local resident is suing the Town of Estes Park seeking ballot access for a citizen-initiated ordinance. “The right to vote on citizen initiatives is a constitutional right in Colorado,” said Bill Van Horn, who is heading a group called Estes Park Citizens for Responsible Government. The proposed initiative would require voter approval to create or continue an urban renewal authority or downtown development authority. “I’m asking the Town of Estes Park to respect the Colorado Constitution and let the voters decide,” said Van Horn.
Van Horn asserts local voters should have the right to approve or reject extension of the Estes Park Urban Renewal Authority for another 25 years. “Urban Renewal is being used across Colorado to subsidize new private developments and that is not an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars,” Van Horn said. “In these tough economic times, local government needs to focus on its core services.” Van Horn also states that property taxes will be diverted to urban renewal from other taxing districts, such as the school district, the hospital district, the library district and the recreation district.
The Estes Park Urban Renewal Authority was created and received tax increment financing for 25 years in the wake of the 1982 Long Lake flood, which killed three and caused an estimated $31 million in damage. The initial Urban Renewal Authority expired this year and the Town of Estes Park opted to create a new authority authorizing another 25 years of tax increment financing.