Steamboat Springs By the end of tonight's City Council meeting, voters should have a good idea what to expect on November's ballot.
Although the city has until Sept. 10 to certify the ballot, the council will be asked to give the final approval on three tax issues.
If the council approves the proposed mill levies for both the Fire Safety Tax and the Howelsen Hill Tax, voters will be asked to support a 7.8 mill increase. If passed, the two taxes would collect more than $200 from properties assessed at $300,000.
City Finance Director Don Taylor said the 5 mills proposed for the Fire Safety Tax would mean an estimated $137 increase in property taxes for a $300,000 house. The Howelsen Hill Tax of 2.8 mills would generate $76.86 from the same property.
Because 2002 is not a reassessment year, Taylor said his estimations should be close, but could slightly decrease when new construction is added into the total-assessed value for the city.
If approved, the taxes would be assessed for the 2002 calendar year, be paid to the Routt County Treasurer and turned over to the city in 2003.
The city is looking for the Fire Safety Tax to bring in $1.9 million which would be used for ambulance, fire prevention and fire suppression needs.
The Howelsen Hill Tax would generate $1.1 million and go toward funding the operations and maintenance of the sports complex including the ski hill, Nordic trails, ski jumps, athletic fields, ice arena and rodeo grounds.
If voters do not approve the mill levies, it would not mean the two budget items would stop being funded. But the tax would guarantee funding and mean they would not compete with other priorities come budget time.
The two taxes would also free up money and put the excess $2 million toward funding capital projects.
The third issue would ask voters to approve an excise tax that would replace the impact fees currently in place. The tax would be 1.2 percent of the valuation on any new construction.
Taylor said that the Impact Fee Committee used the 1.2 percent figure on construction value because it would have generated similar funds to the $800,000 the city would have gathered if impact fees were collected for all of 2001.
Taylor said the tax would exempt the first $150,000 for residences where construction was valued at less than $250,000.
Because construction value does not include the land price, Taylor said that exemption could apply to houses that are worth as much as $350,000 to $400,000.
City Clerk Julie Jordan said the council has three meetings from tonight until Sept. 10 before deciding what to include on the ballot.
That leeway could allow the city to table the issues or make a motion to reconsider the decision.
The council will also face the first approval of the ballot question that would form the Steamboat Springs Water Authority.
After public input, the city pushed back the voting date from Aug. 13 and changed the wording on the water agreement between the city and the Mount Werner Water District.