A Little About This Post
Recently I was elected to serve on the BARA – Boulder Area Realtor Association – as a director for a three year term. I am now working to attend more events and lectures through our association. To basically be more involved. Today the association had a presentation on the upcoming Boulder 2017 ballot and how these legislative issues will impact residents.
It seems an ambitious year, as Boulder will be asking citizens to contribute an additional $70 million dollars in tax revenues. Some of the items are reissues of existing taxes. Others, such as the massive municipalization or “Utility Occupation Tax” are new. I hope you find this information helpful in creating your own opinion about the upcoming ballot issues.
The Library Tax
The city of Boulder hopes voters will approve an extension of the “Cultural and community Safety Tax.” This one has been in existence for several years. Changes in 2017 will be for a longer period of time, with the funds used more promptly. That is, collected over four years, spent in three.
Opponents believe this tax isn’t necessary. That the expenditures could just come out of the city taxes already collected. Proponents point out the good this tax does. It was last re-upped in 2014, following which the resources were applied to projects including The Dairy Center, our Civic Center and Chautauqua.
About 3/4’s of the funds will be used on city projects, including:
- Scott Carpenter swimming pool
- Acquiring land to expand the fire station at 30th & Arapahoe
- Working on the outdoor pathway/4 mile pathway and greenway
- $5,000,000 towards the proposed Nobo Library!
The Other Worthy Cause Tax Hike Facing Boulder 2017 Ballot
Well, it’s not a tax hike per se. This Boulder 2017 ballot issue simply extends an existing tax. We have had it in place for seventeen years and it helps with essential funding. Think elderly, children, food assistance. It won’t actually increase your tax bill, but the funds collected will make a big impact on the less fortunate in our community.
Boulder County Term Limits Change
The sheriff is currently limited to four terms. Joe Pelle is popular and continues to do right by Boulder. The idea is to extend the term limit to five terms and he can once more run for office. Opponents suggest a change of leadership is good for the community.
The 3rd County Tax
Now, if you are counting, this is the 4th item. But I started with a city tax. The third county item on the ballot will be funds to explore broadband and high speed internet access for the county. Similar taxes and programs already exist around the community. The city passed a similar tax/program two years ago. The legislative change on the Boulder 2017 ballot is mandated by a state law. Opponents feel the business community does a great job already of creating the service level consumers want.
Longmont Colorado already offers the NextLight 1 Gigabyte internet service. Check out the video. It has some great snapshots from the past. Sure, its a bit of an advertisement, but it does show that living in Longmont has its advantages. Faster internet creates careers and jobs. It lets us share those baby pictures. And stream content. Faster internet is a great reason to live in Boulder. And the county is asking for a minimal tax to explore the concept.
The Muni Issue
Its been in the newspapers a great deal lately, and as we move from summer to the Boulder 2017 Ballot season, expect to see more about this controversial issue. Boulder is seeking an extension that will also generate a lot more funding. In the past decade, we’ll had an exploratory tax that netted $16,000,000 or so. This new tax wold generate the same number of dollars in just three years.
Opponents point out the plan to create a utility muni is expensive, even more so than originally thought. And its taking a long time. Why not put the effort and money into working towards Boulder’s goals.
Proponents say we need to be 100% off coal by 2030. Their fear is Xcel is not headed in that direction. Although, just recently Xcel dropped two coal burning plants in Pueblo, taking Colorado’s renewable energy generation from 40% to 55%.
The Boulder Chamber of Commerce Does Not Support
That’s the big news. The chamber has moved its position from Skeptical Neutral to Against. This isn’t a lightly taken decision. It reflects business opposition to the planned move. IBM, one of Boulder’s largest employers, is against the idea. CU Boulder is neutral at best. That’s another major player.
And even if the issue musters support and moves forward – after all, supporters are quick to point out, its an expensive and long process to take control of our future! – but even if it passes the exploratory phase, there is then a phase before FERC and any potential legal appeals. So, whether you are for or against, this is more of the beginning than the middle or end!
That’s it. There is also a big crowd running for election to a very small number of seats. Hope you found this article to be helpful.