Along with the icy roads due to the recent snow storms and plunging temperatures, the moisture has finally made a dent in the state’s drought monitor.
“That’s certainly good news,” said Teller County Commissioner Marc Dettenrieder, who serves on the Colorado Emergency Fire Fund Committee. “But you never know; it’s Colorado.”
However, the committee predicts above-normal precipitation and below-normal temperatures for the coming months, Dettenrieder said, speaking at the commissioners’ meeting May 23. “Even with these predictions, 100,000 acres are going to burn in the state of Colorado.”
In other good news, Commissioner Norm Steen reported that Teller County will receive nearly $400,000 from the state to improve county roads. The funds are the result of legislation passed by the Colorado legislature, one bill for $11.3 million and another for $100 million for the 64 counties.
“Just under $400,000 will be transferred to the Highway User Trust Fund to Teller County,” Steen said. “The funds will be coming either July or August.”
But Steen was less than enthused about a proposed change to how road improvements are funded. “As you know cars today are more efficient and that means you’ve got more cars on the road but not enough gasoline tax collected,” he said.
Steen is the vice-chair of Colorado Counties Inc. Transportation & Telecommunications Legislative Steering Committee.
Gov. Jared Polis has projected that Colorado move to zero-emission standard, meaning all-electric vehicles, by 2040. “That means a gasoline tax of zero,” Steen said. “There’s been a lot of discussion about what future funding revenues will look like.”
Among the suggestions is for a road usage charge. “I will not be in this chair if that comes about in five or 10 years but for those who care you should be keeping track of this RUC,” Steen said. “Because it may determine how you pay gasoline tax in the decade ahead.”
Residents will have the opportunity to comment when Shoshana Lew, director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, appears at 1 p.m. June 13 in the Centennial Building in Cripple Creek.
According to a Jan. 17 article by Nic Garcia in The Denver Post, the governor’s direction to adopt zero-emission standards would not do away with the low-emission standard adopted earlier this year. Both would be independent of each other.
“Like the lower emission standards, the zero-emission standards would establish guidelines for how many electric cars auto dealers should sell as a percentage of their overall sales within the state,” states the article, adding that Colorado also offers a $5,000 tax credit for electric vehicles.
A week after the assessor’s office mailed notices of valuation to Teller County homeowners, 918 have protested. The assessor, Colt Simmons, expects up to 2,500 protests, he said, in a report to the commissioners. “People are just astounded at the value of their properties,” Simmons said. “Thirty-two percent increase.”