GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
An item has made it to Grand Junction's local ballots that could raise property taxes. Measure 5B affects both residents and businesses.
People may not have heard about the measure, but if it passes, it could affect residents in two ways.
First, the measure could provide some protection against the West Nile virus, which has seen 11 cases in Mesa County and at least two deaths in Montrose.
"The percentage of mosquitoes that we saw this summer that were of the species that spread West Nile or spread disease were much higher than normal," explained Zane McCallister, district manager for the Grand River Mosquito Control District.
However, the measure will also raise property taxes for both residents and businesses.
"There's been enough interest in the north area and in Grand Junction for the Mosquito Control to consider putting it on the ballot again," said McCallister.
Measure 5B would bring the metro Grand Junction area in with other districts like Palisade, Orchard Mesa, the Redlands and Fruita, which already receive mosquito mitigation.
Around 23,000 households would be affected.
Residents like Sandra Parker and her husband don't feel that the added cost burden would be worth it for Grand Junction households.
"For every $100,000 of property that's assessed, their taxes will raise $12.04. This is a never-ending tax," she said.
Businesses will also be impacted. In Colorado, a property tax on businesses is about four-times as much as the residential rate.
For every $100,000 the business's property is worth, it amounts to $43.88 in fees.
The business owners who NewsChannel 5 spoke to didn't know a lot about the measure, but say they are concerned about their taxes going up in general.
However, the Mosquito Control District has no control over how the fees are assessed.
"We feel for the business owners and we're not trying to hurt them. The state laws are set up the way the state laws are set up," McCallister added.
He went on to say that the tax rate battle is something fought at the state level rather than in this local election.
Still, some residents have health concerns about the spray.
However, McCallister explained that modern techniques are much healthier and more environmentally friendly than in the past, when a fog of spray would blanket entire streets.
Despite the advancements, Parker feels the tax should not be mandatory. "As a city we need to stick together. As individuals, you know, you get tired of government telling you what to do," she said.
The Grand River Mosquito Control District says the fee benefits the greater good, but it is still the voter's choice.
The measure heads to the ballot in November.
To find out more about 5B, head to the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce's Voter Guide
or visit the Grand River Mosquito Control District's website at www.grmcd.net .