Steamboat City Council to discuss downtown urban renewal funding plan

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Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014

Where: Citizen's Hall, 124 10th St.

— The Steamboat Springs City Council is poised to spend much of Tuesday evening talking about how to improve the downtown corridor.

The two big agenda items facing council are an update on an ongoing downtown parking study and a presentation from city staff about the possible use of tax increment financing to fund downtown improvements under an urban renewal authority.

Both items have the potential to greatly change the look and feel of downtown in the coming years.

The use of a TIF would funnel future growth in sales and property tax revenue from new development in the downtown area toward public improvement projects.

But unlike how it has been used at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, most of the potential of a TIF in the downtown corridor lies in the growth of sales tax from new businesses, not in property tax gains.

City staff will look to the council Tuesday to gauge how much future sales tax growth from new development it would be comfortable dedicating to the improvement projects.

A consultant working for the city has estimated that if 50 percent, or 2 cents on every new dollar was used, $9 million in incremental sales tax revenue would go toward improvements in the downtown area during a 25-year period.

A lower funding dedication of 37.5 percent, or 1.5 cents on every new dollar, would generate an estimated $6.7 million in incremental sales tax for improvements during 25 years.

City staff will give a detailed presentation on the tax projections Tuesday night.

The purpose of diverting the sales tax growth from new development would be to help fund a wide range of public improvements.

A preliminary list from city staff includes such things as streetscape and lighting improvements on Yampa and Oak streets, improving sidewalk connectivity throughout downtown, traffic-calming improvements on Yampa Street and public restrooms.

Included in the URA presentation is a list of Yampa Street improvements that total $7.8 million and $400,155 of Oak Street sidewalk connections.

"What we need to do is finalize a list of projects, prioritize them and sharpen our pencils," Planning Director Tyler Gibbs said.

He said the council could choose to form an advisory committee that would help prioritize projects. It would be similar to the one formed at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

If council is supportive of using a TIF downtown, a series of ordinances would need to be adopted.

Following the tax discussion, the council will get an update on an ongoing study about downtown parking.

Parking consultant Scot Martin and Public Works Director Chuck Anderson last week hosted a public forum to discuss the study's findings and to field suggestions from the community.

Community members offered up a wide variety of ideas ranging from construction of a parking structure in the future to some sort of a mass transit service looping through downtown.

Martin suggested the recommendations he makes to council would be aimed at better utilization of existing parking.

Things he is considering include making some parking spaces smaller to accommodate more spaces and license plate-reading technology to aid in parking enforcement.

TIF plan for downtown

URA plans

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Comments

Scott Wedel 1 month, 2 weeks ago

From State of Colorado: "Tax increment financing (TIF) is a mechanism for funding redevelopment projects in Colorado exclusively targeted at improving blighted areas."

There is simply no ethical way for SB City Council to consider an URA with a TIF. If the city government is willing to exploit poorly defined state laws that allow calling prime development property as "blighted" then they are setting the example of how citizens should interact with city government. The city government would be making an explicit statement that those affected by laws should ignore the clearly stated intent of those laws, but should attempt to exploit any loopholes in those laws.

Sure, people will look for loopholes, but usually it is not government promoting that behavior.

This same city council, just a couple week ago, declared that Yampa St was a local hotspot. But now, in order to grab tax revenues from the schools and state, the city is willing to declare the area as "blighted".

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Martha D Young 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Just like Ski Time Square, where blight was created by the "developer".

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mark hartless 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"Sure, people will look for loopholes, but usually it is not government promoting that behavior."

Municipal governments are populated with people. People have learned the art of plunder. Therefore, institutions ran by people can, do and will practice to decieve.

Only blind men and fools believe governments don't exploit loopholes.

No better example exists that the head of the IRS pleading the 5th to avoid justice - a "servant of the people" (ha ha ha) who knows every loophole in the book.

Your over-all assesment of the situation I agree with, but to say government doesn't use loopholes is just ridiculous, Scott.

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Scott Wedel 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I think that usually elected officials don't so support such a blatant lie that they have recently acknowledged is a lie. If only because that is the sort of duplicity that can come back to haunt them in a future campaign.

"My opponent voted for taking money from students and giving it to millionaire property owners by claiming a thriving street is blighted. My opponent literally has no shame."

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bill schurman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Projects for the sake of projects. The city staff is running wild.

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John Weibel 1 month, 2 weeks ago

They have to justify there existence, if they are not busy working on improving something then what is the point of the planning director, to plan for what could be, but he is not an expert on parking... so lets spend money to prove what I want proven.

It seems as though many rules are written simply to justify ones job. The structure I have a foundation only permit to begin construction on for example has been here for 30 give or take years. It has withstood the "wind shear" of the valley for that time. However, in order for the computer models to show that it will withstand what it has for 30 years I need to pull off the roof, put plywood down and then put the steel roof back on it. If i take off the roof that does not leak I will replace it as I guarantee that taking it off will leave it structurally compromised. I could simply put in some cross beams to help with that load factor but that most likely will not fly in the engineers computer models because the steel roofing system has very little ability in their system of nailing the load it has for a long time.

Upgrading the trusses, no problem adding in a little extra support not a big deal but to take off the roof and re-install it goes against every notion of trying to be sustainable I have. I guess those in government fail to see how their rules may work counter to may of the goals they actually have.

Throw in the "drywall" firewall or wall of separation, that is being designed into the addition is a waste of resources and really not needed because the per state and federal tax codes limited processing of ones agricultural product is agricultural in nature and not commercial or industrial as was hypothesized. But oh well, life goes on.

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