Boulder County Commissioners to consider ballot measures for wildfire mitigation, emergency response, and transportation

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For Immediate Release:
July 22, 2022

Boulder County Commissioners' Office
Gloria Handyside, Public Information Officer

Boulder County Commissioners to consider ballot measures for wildfire mitigation, emergency response, and transportation

Public hearings scheduled for August 4, 2022

Boulder County, Colo. -- In the county’s annual public opinion survey, the Boulder County Board of County Commissioners learned that the public strongly supports funding for services to keep our community safe.  In response to that feedback, the Commissioners are considering asking voters in November to support new sales taxes for wildfire mitigation and emergency response. The Board is also considering asking voters to extend the existing countywide transportation sales tax.

“The county’s annual public opinion survey made clear that concerns about wildfire mitigation and emergency response are top priorities for Boulder County residents,” said Commissioner Matt Jones. “As a former wildland firefighter and a 20-year Louisville resident who evacuated during the Marshall Fire, I know firsthand how critical forest and grassland mitigation and fire resilient communities are. We need to increase the pace and scale of our wildfire mitigation and community resilience work to match the threat we now face.” 

“Mountain residents have been through numerous wildfires in recent years and I continue to meet regularly with residents who lost a home during the Marshall Fire. We are hearing from residents that this is top of mind,” said Board of County Commissioners Vice-Chair Claire Levy. “As well, our recent public opinion survey showed solid support for extending the existing transportation sales tax, which has funded 44 significant multimodal transportation projects since 2009. This revenue is essential for a safe, sustainable, affordable, and inclusive transportation connections throughout Boulder County.”

“The Emergency Response and Fire Mitigation ballot measures would help fund emergency services like search and rescue, ambulance service, and wildfire response in the mountain and rural areas of Boulder County, and provide a funding stream for fire mitigation efforts,” said Sheriff Joe Pelle. “Rocky Mountain Rescue is an all-volunteer agency, which annually performs over 200 search and rescue calls in the mountains of Boulder County. They are badly in need of improved facilities to house equipment and vehicles and provide meeting and training space. These funds would be used to build and provide that facility as well as other future capitol and equipment needs. Providing funding for on-going, landscape level fire mitigation is also crucial to the future of fire safety in our county.”

Draft ballot language will be available on the county website after July 28, 2022. The public hearings are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, August 4 (for transportation) and 3 p.m. on Thursday, August 4 (for emergency response and wildfire mitigation). Members of the public can register to comment at the August 4 public hearings or submit comments online in advance of the meeting:

Draft Ballot Measures

Please note that a 0.1% sales tax is a penny on ten dollars.

Wildfire Mitigation ballot measure: a proposal to establish a 0.1% countywide sales and use tax for the purpose of funding countywide wildfire mitigation efforts to proactively address the increasing risk of climate-driven wildfires in two programmatic areas. The first is to conduct strategic forest and grassland management projects (using Fireshed partnerships) to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, protect water supplies and create more resilient forest and grassland ecosystems. The second is to help residents in the mountains and plains prepare for wildfires by making homes more fire resistant using community partnerships, individual technical assistance, and rebates through programs like Wildfire Partners

Emergency response ballot measure: a proposal to establish a 0.1%, declining to 0.05% after five years, countywide sales and use tax for the purpose of funding emergency response, including: facility, equipment, capital, and operational costs of search and rescue organizations; funding for the capital needs of fire departments in mountainous and rural areas; ambulance services in areas not covered by municipal ambulance services; wildland firefighting staffing; and other projects and services to address the need for emergency services and public safety in unincorporated Boulder County.

Transportation ballot measure: a proposal to extend the existing 0.1% countywide transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of continuing to fund multimodal transportation needs, including safety improvements to roads, regional trails and commuter bikeways, transit, regional corridors, and community mobility programs. The county’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) provides a blueprint for Boulder County’s transportation system improvements for the next 25 years, including  projects, programs and services throughout the county and to serve people using all modes of travel. Learn more about the existing Boulder County Transportation Sales Tax.

Public Opinion Survey

Drake Research & Strategy, Inc. presented the results of Boulder County’s annual public opinion survey to the Board of County Commissioners on June 21, 2022. The survey, which was conducted in April and May of this year, is available on the Boulder County website.

Headshots of three current commissioners in horizontal alignment with their names to the right of each photo