Oak Creek Town Board to consider sales-tax increase
July 27, 2011
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.
Steamboat Springs — 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.
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