The Chamber faced a difficult decision two years ago. After eight months of negotiations, there was failure to find common ground and a solution to the cost of stormwater issues in the Valley that would not unduly harm businesses and the economy. While homeowners would be charged $36 annually, many businesses would see annual charges of up to $10,000 from the Grand Valley Drainage District. The Chamber had never sued another entity in its entire 135-year history. Board members voted to sue the District only after this exhaustive dialogue and in partnership with Mesa County. Our opinion persists that this is actually a tax and not a fee regardless of how the courts may rule.
Fast forward to spring of 2018 and we are aware as of press time that a decision may be imminent. What comes next will be driven by that decision and will be discussed in coming weeks by your board.
For one thing, there will be an important board election on May 8th with two candidates vying for a seat on that three person board, a board that has the power to make changes and work across geographic boundaries for the good of the community. If you live east of 28 Road and North of the Colorado River and own property in the GVDD I urge you to participate in this election. In the last election held in 2016 only 200 people voted and the winner garnered just 12 more votes than his opponent. It WILL make a difference!
As an organization, we appreciate all of the support we received from members in this effort, both financially and by way of encouragement. A mission statement is more than just words on paper and ours is short but impactful. We exist to promote the economy and be the voice of business. Hopefully, we have shown that we live our mission by being your voice on this incredibly important issue. As Chairman I am proud of the way we have handled the suit and the underlying issue. We have never wavered from the principles shown below. We still have much work to do on behalf of you, the members that ARE our Chamber and we welcome your ongoing feedback, support and suggestions.
- The Chamber supports a valley-wide solution to addressing the area’s drainage problems, which of necessity involves multiple governmental entities in addition to the Grand Valley Drainage District.
- The Chamber supports the development of thoughtful alternatives regarding new fees, taxes, and grants to meet the need.
- The Chamber opposes the imposition of an impact fee for business expansions. The growth of businesses improves the economy, increases job opportunities and adds to the tax base.
- The Chamber supports an extended process of securing more information in a collaborative manner with all entities responsible for drainage and thoroughly exploring all funding models, the implementation of a sunset provision on the funding source, more transparency and accountability in the form of reports issued to taxpayers regarding how project priorities are identified, how funds are being spent, and how funds are leveraged with money from other sources—including grants.
Click here to download the full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce April 2018 Newsletter.