Friday, January 30, 2015

County Commissioners respond to editorial: Transparency for All


The best advice I received when I was elected was "never pick a fight with the person who buys ink by the barrel." However, I have no choice but to respond to the self-serving editorial in Friday's newspaper. It is easy for the newspaper to give a one-sided perspective on Dan Thurlow's bill, in which your Mesa County Commissioners whole-heartedly supported. I testified at the hearing in FAVOR of transparency.

I keep thinking of the single mom, struggling to make ends meet, who is not one of the 30-40% of people who can afford a subscription to the newspaper. Is she not equally entitled to know how her Commissioners are spending her hard-earned taxpayer money?

What the editorial did not mention were the facts:

1) Mesa County, along with many counties across the State, publishes County financial information right now on our website, for FREE. Under the Colorado Open Records Act, we are required to also give this information to those who request it, either electronically or in hard copies.

2) An amendment to Thurlow's bill required this same information to be provided to the newspapers for publication and, if they really cared about transparency, could publish it for FREE.

3) Counties are the only government entity that is required to publish our financial information in the newspaper. The State, municipalities and special districts are exempt from this requirement, despite the fact that they fund their operations with your taxpayer money as well.

4) The publication costs are paid with taxpayer money, out of the same general fund that supports core government services, like public safety.

5) Your taxpayer money is being spent to subsidize the newspaper industry.

Transparency should be available to all people, FREE of charge.

If the newspaper industry truly cares about transparency, they should run a bill to mandate that all levels of government equally provide transparency to their constituents and force the State, municipalities and special districts to all publish their financial information in the newspaper.

Your Mesa County Board of Commissioners believes in transparency, free for all constituents, at all levels of government.

Board of Mesa County Commissioners
Rose Pugliese, Chair

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mesa County Commissioners meet with Garfield County Commissioners

Today, the Mesa County Commissioners and Garfield County Commissioners met in Parachute to discuss a variety of topics, including:

*Garfield County Mineral Ownership Bill
*BLM’s Resource Management Plan (RMP)
*Environmental Impact Statement - 65 leases
*Gunnison and Greater Sage Grouse Legislation
*Thompson Divide

View the complete meeting agenda

or the meeting information Garfield County's webpage:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Commissioners Oppose Governor's Plan to Use Severance Tax

This morning, Mesa County Commissioners joined a press conference on the steps of the Mesa County building.  The press conference included members of the councils of Grand Junction, Palisade and Fruita, representatives of Club 20, Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, and many others.  The conference was held to voice opposition to a proposal to use severance tax, rightfully due to  energy impacted counties, to backfill the State’s general fund.

The Commissioners  formalized their comments to the Honorable Kent Lambert, Chair of the Joint Budget Committee, in a letter transmitted today.  The letter states:

"The Mesa County Board of Commissioners, on behalf of the residents of Mesa County, express our strong opposition to the Governor’s proposal to use severance tax, rightfully due to the energy impacted counties, to backfill the State’s general fund.

The Governor needs to learn, like our counties on the Western Slope, to find efficiencies in government to fund state expenses such as Medicaid and TABOR, or any other shortfalls that the State may face.
Mesa County, like other Western Slope counties, has had to tighten our belts in order to provide the core government services our constituents expect during tough economic times. Our economy is not recovering. Mesa County received $1.7 million dollars of severance tax money In 2014. This money goes straight to our general fund to pay for key important core services, including public safety. Raiding this severance tax fund for energy impacted communities is unacceptable.

We are ready to assist the Governor to find efficiencies in State government, as we have had to in our county governments.

We stand united with Colorado Counties, Inc., Club 20, Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado and our municipal partners in opposing the Governor’s plan to use severance tax money to backfill the State’s general fund."