A tax increase to support the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District appears poised to pass, carried by the support of Boulder County voters.
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.
The mill levy increase, Ballot Issue 7A, passed by a margin of 71% to 29% of 55,270 votes in Boulder County, according to unofficial election results posted at 12:36 a.m. Wednesday. That was more than enough pro votes to counter the opposite sentiments of the majority of 5,810 Weld County voters, who were against the measure 51% to 48%, according to results posted at 12:46 a.m.
In Larimer County, only 69 votes were cast on the measure as of 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, with 39 for and 30 against.
The tax increase, the first for the district in 50 years, will automatically end after 10 years. It will add up to approximately $9 per $100,000 of assessed value on residential properties and $36.24 per $100,000 of assessed value for businesses, according to Yes on 7A for Our Water, the ballot committee supporting the mill levy increase.
“We are thrilled that voters within the St. Vrain and Left Hand Conservancy District have chosen to protect clean water and healthy forests and rivers. This is an exciting outcome for our community and the district,” Jessie Olson, executive director of the Left Hand Watershed Center, stated in a news release from Yes on 7A for Our Water. “We have seen the impacts of a changing climate this year including drought and record-setting wildfires. We thank the voters and the many volunteers who helped make this possible and ensured that we can support our communities.”
Eric Wallace, co-founder and president of Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, in the release stated, “This is a great example of our community stepping up to protect our communities and ensure we have water supplies for generations to come. The St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District developed a five-point Water Action plan that will protect rivers, forests and local water quality. Yes on 7A is a great investment in clean water, which is absolutely essential for businesses like Left Hand Brewing, as well as for our community and the next generation.”The ballot measure had its critics, who believed other approaches could address the district’s funding needs and that the tax increase would add up on properties of higher value. The Boulder County Republicans is one group that was opposed to 7A, stating on its website that the measure is an “overreach of government control” and a “violation of limited government.”