Downtown tax on agenda

Steamboat City Council will also review draft budgets

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Agenda

5 p.m. City services update, city staff reports, discussion regarding a possible downtown URA

6 p.m. Parking Focus Group update, Economic Development Council update, City Council retreat topics

7 p.m. Public comment

7:30 p.m. Planning services update

9 p.m. Adjournment

If you go

What: Meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Contact: Call city offices at 879-2060 for more information.

— The Steamboat Springs City Council tonight will consider a tax district to fund neighborhood and infrastructure improvements in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Nancy Kramer, design committee chairwoman for Main Street Steamboat Springs, proposed implementing the tax - known as an urban renewal authority, or URA - downtown at an Aug. 15 council meeting.

The city already has a URA, created by the City Council in December 2004, that covers an area around the base of Steamboat Ski Area. The city has created the Steamboat Springs Base Area Reinvestment Plan.

A downtown URA would use a fraction of revenue from future property taxes, and possibly sales taxes, in the area to fund neighborhood improvements, Kramer said.

A downtown URA would apply to businesses and residences between Second Street and 13th Street and from the Yampa River to the alley between Oak Street and Pine Street, she said.

Tonight's council discussion could result in the first formal decision regarding a downtown URA.

"We want to confirm with council that they're ready to move forward with the next steps," Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said Monday. "This is a way for council to take formal action."

It also is a way for the council to hear comments on the proposal.

Numerous taxing entities, such as Routt County and the Steamboat Springs School District, already receive funding from property tax revenues generated downtown. A downtown URA would not decrease the amount of revenues those entities receive, but it would decrease the gains in revenue for those entities in future years.

"The council certainly expects to hear from other taxing entities," Steamboat Springs City Council President Ken Brenner said.

In preparing the Base Area Reinvestment Plan, the city spent more than $95,000 in legal and staff fees to identify needs for improvement at the base area and plan for investment.

A similar process and "the same due diligence," would need to occur for the city to implement a downtown URA, DuBord said.

"We're not going to go out and spend this kind of effort, and spend this kind of money, unless we're sure council wants to move forward," DuBord said.

Implementing a downtown URA would not require a vote by the public, she added. Steamboat Springs is one of seven cities in Colorado that does not generate funds for the city through a property tax.

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