CML takes positions on ballot initiatives

STATEWIDE — The Colorado Municipal League’s (CML) Board of Directors has taken positions on four statewide ballot initiatives.

“Many citizen-drafted proposals have direct impacts on the operations, finances, and services of cities and towns both positively and negatively.

CML has often times taken positions on such measures over the years,” stated League Executive Director Sam Mamet.

Takings (currently #108): Oppose

This suggested change to the Colorado Constitution would expose both the state and all local governments to untold legal exposure with unclear language referring to government regulations or actions which would “reduce” the “fair market value” of private property and subject taxpayers to “just compensation” to a private property owner, according to the CML.

All types of ordinances and policies at the municipal level would be affected, like code enforcement, land use and zoning, licensing, and redevelopment.

Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell said, “This measure places words in our state constitution that are not clear. Both the state and taxpayers in cities like my own will be subject to frivolous lawsuits. As both a mayor and CML president, I am strongly opposed and will be voting no.”

Governor John Hickenlooper has already publicly voiced his opposition to the measure, and a growing number of organizations are as well, including Club 20, the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, and the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation. Additionally, the Grand Junction Sentinel has editorialized against #108.

Setbacks (currently #97): Oppose

As a change to state law, a 2,500-foot oil and gas production setback would be established from certain areas within a community. The league is concerned with the preemptive nature of the measure relative to the flexibility of local governments to negotiate setback policies with energy producers. The measure also conflicts with constitutional home rule authority for municipalities.

According to CML, it would seriously impact on-going production activity in this state, and this will cause a serious reduction in severance tax revenues accruing to a variety of important state programs, like water storage and school funding, as well as grant programs available to cities and towns. The impact on the state’s economy will be significant as well.

However well-intended, the measure goes too far as CML is concerned.

Transportation Sales Tax (currently #153): Support

This proposed state law would increase the state sales rate and earmark the revenue for a variety of CDOT projects, allow for bonding, provide additional funding for local transit and other multi-modal needs through a CDOT-administered grant program, and most importantly share a significant portion of this new revenue with counties and municipalities.

A recent analysis conducted by CML indicates at least a $3.75 billion shortfall in funding needs at the city and town level. Learn more at

CML believes passage of this measure would go a long way towards addressing this critical infrastructure problem facing Colorado at the state and local level.

Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes (currently #167): Oppose

This proposed state law would authorize the state to float $3.5 billion in “revenue anticipation notes” to fund 66 CDOT-named projects in the measure.

The league agrees with proponents who quite correctly argue that the state has not done enough to prioritize transportation funding as a key component of the general fund budget. However, CML is quite concerned that because there is no funding stream identified (as in #153) to pay off the notes, funding cuts in the state budget will have to occur, and those likely will come from state-administered grants and loans available to cities and towns.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee if any of the named projects will even get funded. Finally, there is no share back with counties and municipalities.

CML is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1923 and represents the interests of 270 cities and towns.  For more information on the Colorado Municipal League, please visit or call 303-831-6411.