By Lyndsie Ferrell
DEL NORTE— The Del Norte Town Board approved draft resolution 3-2018 approving a sales tax increase question to be placed on the November ballot. The board has had several conversations about the topic over the last few months, debating on whether or not the community of Del Norte would support a small increase in order to fund more officers for the police department.
During the meeting held on Wednesday, Aug. 8 board members listened to Town Attorney Gene Farish who read the draft resolution, stating that he could make amendments or changes if the board saw it necessary to do so. “This is only a draft. We can approve the draft with changes, or we can make the final resolution and come back for approval at a later time,” explained Farish.
After a brief discussion, board members decided to pass the draft resolution as presented. “I think now is the time to get this done. When we approached the Rio Grande County Commissioners with this proposed sales tax increase, they suggested getting it on the November ballot and told us not to wait,” said Del Norte Mayor Chris Trujillo.
Board members Laura Anzalone and Samuel Scavo voiced their concerns that they think the tax increase should only be for one percent instead of the proposed two percent. Trujillo spoke up stating that though he agrees with the reason the two members feel that way, he thinks the chances of the tax being approved by the community would be the same either way. “I feel that whether it is one or two percent we have a 50-50 chance of it being approved. Either the community will support this increase or they won’t,” said Trujillo.
In the resolution it states that the two percent tax increase would be split evenly between the police department for additional officers and the town rehabilitation project. “The increase would put the town’s sales tax at four percent. The two percent increase would provide an estimated $260,000 to the town, giving the police department an additional $130,000 towards officers and equipment, and $130,000 for downtown rehabilitation.
After the discussion pertaining to the resolution was ended and board members passed it unanimously, Trujillo presented the next resolution 4-2018 that would enter the town into an intergovernmental agreement with the county for a coordinated election on Nov. 6 in order for the sales tax increase to be on the ballot. Board members approved resolution 4-2018 and moved on to the next item on the agenda.