Oak Creek Town Board to consider sales-tax increase

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Oak Creek Town Board agenda.

If you go

What: Oak Creek Town Board meeting

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Oak Creek Town Hall, 129 Nancy Crawford Blvd.

Online: Read a meeting schedule with this story at SteamboatToday.com.

— At its meeting Thursday, the Oak Creek Town Board is set to vote on whether to ask voters to approve a sales-tax increase in November that would be used to boost funding for the Oak Creek Police Department.

The proposed ballot question would raise Oak Creek’s sales-tax rate from 3 percent to 4 percent, increasing the town’s revenue by an estimated $39,000 next year.

Board member Bernie Gagne said because the town has lost revenue for the past three years, an additional source of funding is needed for the Police Department, which includes one full-time officer and a seasonal officer who works during the summer.

“Raising taxes is a tough pill to swallow in this (economic) environment, and I have a hard time voting to raise taxes. However, with our revenue stream down, our Police Department will take a hit,” Gagne said. “We’re trying to do the right thing for the public and give them the law enforcement they deserve and need.”

Gagne said that if voters pass the sales tax increase, the additional revenue likely would be used to fund another part-time officer. He said the board decided to seek a sales-tax increase instead of a property-tax increase because it would have less of an overall impact on Oak Creek property owners.

Board vacancy

The board also will vote Thursday to appoint a new member.

The board now is considering two applicants after Oak Creek resident Wes Woodford applied for the position Friday.

Oak Creek Mayor Nikki Knoebel said Woodford’s application was accepted after the June 20 application deadline because Dave Maris, who was the lone applicant for the seat until Woodford applied, also submitted his application late on June 22. Knoebel said the board first will vote on whether to appoint Maris and then, if he’s not approved, will vote on Woodford.

Votes on Maris’ appointment were tabled at the past two meetings, most recently because member Wendy Gustafson wanted the opportunity to interview the candidate after he was unable to attend the July 14 meeting. The board’s first vote on Maris, using a secret ballot June 23, resulted in a 2-2 tie, and the appointment was tabled because the board was unable to break the tie.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today raised concerns at that time about whether Colorado Open Meetings Laws allowed the secret ballot, and the board agreed that future votes on board vacancies would be conducted publicly.

“What I see as fair is voting on Dave as his own person because his vote was tabled twice already,” Knoebel said.

She said that she was pleased with both candidates.

“I think they’re both great people and both people who have shown a great interest in the town,” she said. “Either way we go, we’ll be lucky.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

As if a sales tax hike would have no impact on business. Oak Creek already has 4 vacant restaurants. The gas station is credit card only and this sales hike would raise the cost of selling gas by nearly 4 cents a gallon. So it would probably be the final nail in the coffin for the gas station.

It would give further cost advantages to the farm and hardware store in Pburg as well as their motel. Might as well call this sales tax the "Pburg Development Act"

It also strains credibility to suggest this tax will be used to hire additional police. Town is facing significant loss of revenue and this would, for now, make up for some of that. So this tax hike would reduce the need for budget cuts, not provide additional revenue for police. And this is only a temporary fix because property values have continued to decline so next round of county assessments in two years (based upon values from 2010 to 2012 so already more than half way through valuation period) is going to result in further revenue declines.

The previous 1% sales hike ballot measure that was promised to be used for road improvements (mentioned improvement projects not otherwise being performed and did NOT mention snow removal) has instead been simply assigned to Public Works for snow removal and has failed to be reserved for street improvements. So this proposed 1% sales tax for police will be just another bait and switch as well.

As it has been noted by Town Board members in the past, the Town is simply too small with far too little tax base to be going it alone. Ouray of similar population has more than 3 times the general fund budget of Oak Creek. But Ouray is a comparatively wealthy tourist town with 7 times more sales tax revenues than OC.

The Town needs to go to the County and state that either they get a sweetheart deal on police services like Yampa or the Town will de-incorporate and become like Pburg and Stagecoach where the County is responsible for police and roads.

The Town needs to encourage businesses to locate in OC and adopt use by right in zoning districts instead of this extremely cumbersome land use that requires pre application hearings (up to 34 days from request to pre app hearing) then notice requirements that can cause two more months before planning board meeting. And all that for a business wanting to remodel an existing building prior to moving in. Something that elsewhere is a commercial use by right and takes no time. Talk to owners of the warehouses and find out how many businesses chose not to locate there over the years due to the onerous land use process.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

YVB, And that land use of major impact carries a $1,000 fee even though Town's costs is simply notification of neighbors and eventually being put on the agenda. So the fee can be the same as a couple months rent and their are expenses for two months while the business waits to go through the process.

Current property tax rates for a property in Oak Creek, 70.162 mills per $1,000 of assessed value, SB is 36.195.

And further economic damage was caused by the recent adoption of their comprehensive plan which adopts the same sort of requirements for Main St development as SB has for Lincoln. So it would allow building projects like the Olympian or Alpenglow in downtown OC. Projects which struggled in SB would be allowed in OC. OC's comprehensive plan almost mocks economic reality. What else can be said for a Main St with numerous vacancies and rents not far from zero that the comprehensive plan states new offices or apts on Main St are not allowed. First floor must be preserved for retail!.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

Yep, and after many years of the Town taking from the utilities to pay for general fund items such as police then utilities were in awful shape so had to hike rates to pay for some maintenance and take a bit less from the utilities.

It was funny a couple weeks ago when I noticed an electricity service line that coming from a transformer up a hill came within a couple of feet of ground as it went to the house. I mentioned it to OC and was told it has been like that for years. I replied that line from the transformer is unswitched and will pull at least a thousand amps before blowing. So if a car were to slide off the alley and hit the line then it would fry the passengers. Or kill firefighters responding to an emergency not expecting a live high current line at their feet. So Town said they'd look into it. The funny part was when I called YVEA and asked what they would do if a service line came within two feet of the ground. YVEA wanted to know where was that line so they could immediately dispatch a crew to fix it. I said it was in Oak Creek. YVEA said they would go to the location in order to be sure it was not part of their service area. I said it was downtown Oak Creek and definitely not part of their service area. I felt like I had to apologize for reporting a situation in OC to YVEA which YVEA considered an emergency situation. Obviously, I got my answer as to what YVEA would do in that situation.

Just like when I had an electrician do some work and he goes outside and notes the irony of the county building inspector stating that work should be done "in a professional manner" while nothing on the Town's service side nearby has been done in a professional manner. But since it is a municipal utility it is legal for the Town to rig it up in whatever manner they chose and county building dept does not have any right to inspect it.

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spidermite 3 years, 4 months ago

Scott and YVB, You two should swap phone numbers. Then you can gossip.

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spidermite 3 years, 4 months ago

yvb, I do have something to add. Aren't you the person that bragged about how many stray dogs you had shot on your property? Most people try to help homeless animals and I remember being shocked by your comment. Was that you?

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spidermite 3 years, 4 months ago

yvb, So it was you! I believe you stated it was your "God given right". You do have a temper.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

Some people see every dog as someone loved pet. Others see strays chasing elk or livestock as menaces that need to be stopped before they do real harm.

I think spidermite is some authoritarian inclined lemming that dislikes mmj or any criticism of government.

Note that no one defends the state of the electrician system or the land use process or the state of the roads or being the only water district in the state that does not bill using water maters for commercial properties.

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spidermite 3 years, 4 months ago

Scott, You get "stranger" by the day! In my past posts you will find I'm for legalization of mj. Read the article on Nancy Stahoviak's return. Do you still think I dislike any criticism of the government?

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