One of the hot issues on the fall election ballot in Mesa County is Measure 4A, and honestly, I don't know which way I'm going to vote on this.

Since my mind isn't made up on this issue, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. When it comes to politics and elections, I have absolutely no desire to throw my opinion out into the public arena. I'm just thinking aloud, and I invite you to think along with me.

Like most people in Mesa County, I received a voter information pamphlet in the mail from the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder which details the issues on the Mesa County ballot that involve taxation.

Often times when it comes to tax increases, our mind's door is shut before we ever even take a moment to consider the pros and cons. In just about every instance of a proposed tax increase, it is prudent for voters to look at both sides of the issue and make an informed decision, regardless of what that decision is.

The bottom line on Measure 4A is that it would increase property taxes by $6.67 a month for the average homeowner in Mesa County. That comes to about $80 per year. For a lot of folks, that fact right there could be enough to convince them to vote no.

The big picture is this. The measure increases the Mesa County Valley School District's debt by $179.5 million, with a repayment cost of up to $388 million. Taxes would be increased up to $25.3 million annual to pay off the debt.

It's been well-publicized that, if passed, Measure 4A would replace Grand Junction High School with a new facility at the existing location on 5th Street. The school was built in 1959 - and it's pretty hard to argue with the idea that it needs to be replaced.

But, another interesting element to Measure 4A is that Central, Palisade, and Fruita Monument High School would also receive benefits, mainly in the area of safety and security improvements.  Those improvements may include constructing security vestibules, enclosing courtyards, eliminating exterior entrances to create one secure entry point, as well as other unspecified safety and security renovations. There is mention of renovating and improving those facilities to extend the life span of those schools.

In the voter pamphlet, there was a summary of written comments in favor of Measure 4A, but no comments against. The pamphlet says no comments were filed by the constitutional deadline.

If you received the pamphlet in the mail, I would encourage you to read it, look it over, examine it, and try to gain some understanding of this and other measures on the fall ballot. Think about it, study it, and make an informed decision. If you have election questions, you'll most likely find answers from the Mesa County Clerk's office.

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