City bypasses property tax maybe next year

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— A property-tax question looms on the horizon for the voters of Steamboat Springs, though it will not likely be an option on the upcoming November ballot.

The city's current revenue stream, with the addition of impact fees, will likely be holding steady as of next year, as council decided it would need to put together an aggressive education campaign before putting a property tax on the ballot.

"We do not have the time we need to educate the community," said Council President Pro Tem Kathy Connell. "I think if we put this on the ballot we have the possibility of watching all (of the ballot proposals) fail."

A property tax of two mills could raise $740,000 in 2002, according to figures from Finance Director Don Taylor. Taylor also discussed replacing a .1-percent sales tax the state relinquished this year, though that proposal was similarly bypassed by council.

Steamboat is currently one of only eight cities and towns in Colorado that does not levy a property tax. City Council members have been talking about adding a new revenue source to their "one-legged stool."

Councilman Bud Romberg pushed council to stop stalling on the property-tax issue and try to get it on the ballot.

"I would like to see us go forward and direct staff to prepare ballot language. This is a need which has been deferred for a long time and it needs to be addressed," Romberg said.

Councilman Ken Brenner also pleaded with council to ask the voters to approve a property tax to pay for items including Centennial Hall, the renovations to the ice rink and a fire truck, all of which the city is planning to go into debt for without going to the voters.

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