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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Editorial: Weighing the costs and benefits of the Aims tax district election

Berthoud Recorder

As the ballots go out this week, Berthoud residents will decide on a tax measure by returning their mail ballots by Tuesday, Nov. 3. As a news outlet, we will not advocate for or against this measure, but want to be leaders in presenting accurate information on the issue to the community.

Our staff has gathered comments from area citizens and legislators that show a wide range of concerns and desires. Here are some points to consider as Berthoud makes the decision whether or not to become a part of the Aims Community College tax district:
 
Those who spoke in favor of the measure noted the following points:

  • Town residents will receive a 30 percent tuition discount for all Aims classes.
  • A college is a magnet to the area. Approximately 22 percent of Aims students are from outside the service area. As a whole, these students spend more than $2.5 million per year in the college region.
  • Berthoud will have representation on the Aims Board of Trustees and therefore, a say in its policies, budget and decisions.
  • Aims will be offering classes in Applied Environmental Technology, which will promote job growth in green industries.
  • Berthoud will be promoting the growth of educational opportunities for young people in the region.
  • Aims is a primary employer and a desirable business for the area.
  • The proposed campus will include athletic facilities that will be available for use by the community.

Those who spoke against the measure noted the following points:

  • Only those residents who attend Aims College will receive direct benefits from their taxes paid into the District.
  • The proposed campus site at Interstate 25 and Hwy. 56 is far from downtown and therefore will not attract business to Berthoud’s economic center.
  • For the low and fixed income residents of Berthoud, the average tax of $104 per year could be a significant burden, especially during hard economic times.
  • Berthoud High School already offers classes in conjunction with Aims that focus on job skills in science, technology and growth industries.
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