Glenwood Springs city officials released the results of a just completed poll of Glenwood Springs residents that would make any community beam with pride. The city is considering a ballot question for the November election to ask voters to continue the sales tax first passed in 1998. Continuing the current level of sales tax for new community improvements won the overwhelming approval of 81% of Glenwood residents.
The original sales tax increase passed in 1998 helped build a new raw water delivery system and build and maintain the Community Center among many other municipal projects. City Council is currently reviewing projects that might be included if the sales tax is allowed to continue. Improving traffic congestion and providing safer roads and bridges is at the top of the list of voter concerns council wants to address.
Overall, the survey shows that residents of Glenwood Springs feel very good about their community and their overall quality of life.
• 69% say the city is heading in the “right direction”;
• 89% say the local economy is healthy; and
• 74% say the current level of local taxation is “reasonable”.
Mayor Mike Gamba said, “City Council appreciates the overwhelming confidence our neighbors voiced regarding our economy and the direction the City is heading.” “City Council is enthusiastic in proceeding with projects voters have identified and that will make our community an even better place to live.”
Projects identified as the most necessary by voters included:
• 79% support making safety improvements to Midland Avenue Bridge;
• 76% support building a South Bridge across the Roaring Fork connecting Hwy 82 & Airport Rd;
• 69% support creating a Riverwalk at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers including parks and trails; and
• 68% support upgrading and improving the 27th Street /Sunlight Bridge.
Four other projects that also received support of at least 60% of Glenwood residents included; significant improvements to 6th street, a new Midland Devereux bridge, creating a riverside trail from Iron Mountain Hot Springs to Two Rivers Park and building parking garages downtown.
In addition to asking voters to allow the current sales tax to continue to fund public safety and improvement projects city-wide, the council may seek bonding authority so that projects can be completed faster.
City officials and civic groups have been meeting this year to discuss the sales tax extension and projects the city wanted to receive community input on. “At the chamber we feel privileged to have partnered with the City and engaged citizens and our Community on the Move committee on several previous initiatives. The process always begins with public input on a suggested list of projects and the insight of Glenwood Springs voters is impressive. This is democracy in action,” said Marianne Virgili, Executive Director of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.
Voters did identify affordable housing in addition to traffic and congestion as the two most glaring issues facing the city. But the positive nature of the results cannot be overlooked. The citizens of Glenwood Springs have made prudent investments that continue to pay dividends and this November they may be asked to continue with the progress. City Council has until September 9th to make a decision about any ballot proposals it will put before voters in November’s all-mail election.
The citizen survey was conducted by Frederick Polls of Arlington, Virginia from June 13-29. A scientific random sample was conducted with 300 interviews, over 60% of which were completed on cell phones. The margin of error of the poll is 5.6%