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Group launches in support of ballot measure seeking tax increase for St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District

Voters are being asked to raise taxes to support the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District for the first time in its nearly 50-year history.

An effort in support of a ballot measure seeking a tax increase to support the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District launched on Wednesday.

The Yes on 7A For Our Water Campaign, named for the number assigned to the ballot issue, backs the tax increase that it states “will ensure the district can continue supporting local agriculture, healthy rivers, and a secure water future.”

“For nearly 50 years, the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District has successfully protected our water by facilitating conservation programs, protecting water quality, educating the public and developing and managing water projects,” the organization stated in a news release. “The district has never once asked voters for additional funds. ... Cost to homeowners will be approximately $9 per $100,000 of assessed value, similar to the cost of a cup of coffee per month. For businesses the cost is $36.24 per $100,000 of assessed value.”

The tax increase associated with 7A will automatically end after 10 years.

The St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District serves communities in Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties including residents in Lyons, Longmont, Mead and Firestone and the surrounding area draining into St. Vrain and Left Hand creeks, according to the release.

“A yes on 7A vote means we will preserve our spectacular creeks that feed our natural and human environment,” Barbara Luneau, president of the St. Vrain Anglers chapter of Trout Unlimited, stated in the release. “Seeing trout in a river indicates clean, high-quality water. Since the September 2013 flood, trout and native fish habitat has increased because of post-flood stream restoration. There is more work to be done to restore our creeks with limited funding available. Voting yes on 7A will bring desperately needed funding to improve our creeks and maintain our high-quality water.”

Eric Wallace, president of Left Hand Brewing Co., in the release, called the measure “a great investment in clean water, which is essential for our business, community, and the next generation.”

The ballot measure,however, has its critics who believe other approaches can address the district’s funding needs and that the tax increase will add up on properties of higher value.

The Boulder County Republicans is one group opposed to 7A, stating on its website that the measure is an “overreach of government control” and a “violation of limited government.”