Douglas County residents to vote on open space tax, broadband

Voters in Douglas County will get to decide in the fall whether the county should extend its open space sales and use tax for another 15 years and whether it can pursue building its own broadband network.

The board of county commissioners referred both issues to the November ballot on Tuesday.

The 0.17% open space tax extension would kick in on Jan. 1, 2024, and run until Jan. 1, 2039. It would be the continuation of a tax voters first put into effect in 1998. If it is voted down, the current open space sales tax would lapse on the final day of 2023.

The other measure — one passed by dozens of counties and municipalities over the last decade — would allow Douglas County to opt out of a state law that prohibits local governments in Colorado from using tax monies to develop broadband networks. The measure, if passed, would allow the county to enter into public-private partnerships to improve telecom services, like high-speed internet.

The move by the board of commissioners came on the same day that the Douglas County School Board put two measures on the November ballot — a $450 million bond measure and a $60 million mill levy override — to pay for teacher raises and to fund construction of new school buildings.

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