For immediate release
June 5, 2018
The Grand Junction Area Chamber is pleased that Judge Timbreza ruled in favor of the lawsuit filed by the Chamber and Mesa County disputing the Grand Valley Drainage District assessment of a fee on all properties within its boundaries. The Chamber voted to take the unusual action of suing the Grand Valley Drainage District in 2016 after eight months of negotiations failed to find common ground and a solution that would not unduly harm businesses and the economy in addressing the cost of the stormwater issues. While homeowners are charged $36 annually, many businesses see annual charges of up to $10,000 from the Grand Valley Drainage District.
“This is a victory for every property owner within the Grand Valley Drainage District boundaries, including many of our business members” noted Diane Schwenke, President/CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber. “It upholds the principles of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) and requires the District to convince voters that additional funding is needed as Tabor clearly intended.”
Schwenke also noted that the underlying issue of stormwater management still needs to be addressed and that the Chamber is willing to play a role in collaborating with other stakeholders to find ways to mitigate the impacts of stormwater runoff. Shown below are the principles that the Chamber adopted to guide their actions on this issue:
- 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.