Steamboat Springs The committee that's helping Routt County with the concept of a new judicial facility got a taste of its difficult task this week.
During a meeting with county commissioners and the county's finance director, members of the Court Facility Committee got a preliminary look at what the new court facility and remodeling of the old buildings might cost: a whopping $16 million.
Finance Director Dan Strnad said the numbers are based on conservative preliminary numbers and "worst-case scenarios."
"We hope the numbers go down from here," Strnad said to committee members.
The numbers include everything from land purchases, to construction cost of the new building, to remodeling of the old courthouse to new parking lots.
The Court Facility Committee is made up of city and county officials, local residents with business and construction experience and professionals who use the courthouse.
Its goal is to oversee the entire process, from reviewing architect plans and helping select the site to providing input on design and finance issues.
Their first big task is making a recommendation by March 14 on where they believe the new courthouse should go.
The options are the current parking lot that sits behind the historical courthouse and next to the annex building; or the land along Sixth Street where the old Visiting Nurse Association building sits.
But the county commissioners' biggest hurdle will be convincing the taxpayers they need a new courthouse facility and should vote themselves a property tax increase to help pay for it.
Strnad outlined four different scenarios to raise money.
The most viable scenario was General Fund Revenue Bonds. Strnad explained this would call for two ballot issues. One ballot question would ask voters to approve a bond issue so the county could issue the debt; the second ballot question would ask voters to raise their property tax so they could have money to pay down the debt and operate the new building.
"The property tax would increase revenues to pay for the monthly mortgage, so to speak," Strnad said.
What does the property tax mean for homeowners and business owners?
Under Strnad's "worst-case scenario," a $100,000 home would see a $26.75 per year increase in property taxes. A $300,000 home would see a $80.25 per year increase
A $100,000 business would see a $79.66 per year increase and a $300,00 business would see a $240 per year increase in property taxes.