Our view: Valley’s future in hands of Hayden voters? | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Valley’s future in hands of Hayden voters?

In many ways, the communities of Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Craig are one big community called the Yampa Valley. Our futures are bound together, with residents traveling back and forth along the U.S. Highway 40 corridor for employment, recreation, education and shopping.

And that's why we think all of the residents of the Yampa Valley should be interested in the fate of two ballot questions put before West Routt residents this fall.

One question is directed to the voters in the Hayden School district and seeks to build new schools. The second question has been placed before voters in the town of Hayden only, and it proposes to raise the funds need to upgrade the town's water plant and bolster water supply. The measure would also increase wastewater treatment capacity and re-build critical roads.

We believe the outcomes of those ballot questions have implications for all of us. Of course, it's the taxpayers of Hayden and the larger school district that would bear the burden should they pass.

However, the opportunities for attainable family housing in Steamboat Springs are shrinking, and if the future of the Yampa Valley is destined to mirror the down-valley growth of other mountain communities, modern infrastructure and cultural institutions in Hayden will matter to everyone living and working here.

Through August, there have been 96 real estate transactions in Hayden, according to Land Title Guarantee. That number compares to the first eight months of 2016 when there were 82 sales. It's a fair number for a town of 1,850 people.

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And we are also aware that there is a resurgence of building activity and pending sales in the Dry Lake Subdivision on Hayden's east side. Newly constructed, single-family homes there are selling in the mid-$300,000 range – a product and price-point that is not available in Steamboat Springs.

We're sensitive to the fact that school and town ballot questions in tandem represent a significant increase in taxes for taxpayers in the town of Hayden and the Hayden School District.

The mill levy increase associated with the town's proposed $3.7 million bond indebtedness is estimated to cost homeowners an additional $111 annually per $100,000 of valuation.

The ballot question put forth by the school district would bond for $22.3 million to replace middle and high schools that are beyond repair. The property tax increase of $1.945 million annually would cost taxpayers $117 per $100,000 of valuation.

What stands out about the Hayden schools' tax question is that it would only take affect if the school district lands a $41 million grant from the Colorado Department of Education to build the new schools. Essentially, if the grant is awarded to Hayden, school district taxpayers would be able to build more than $60 million in new schools for a little more than $22.3 million.

Both ballot questions are designed to address critical needs. And if Hayden grows, so to will the property tax base, spreading the tax impact among more households.

And we believe that the opportunity to leverage a $41 million grant for new school buildings with a $21 million bond issue is an opportunity Hayden School District voters can't afford to pass up.

At issue: Hayden voters face pivotal taxing questions

Our view: The construction of new 21st century schools in Hayden would be a game-changer for the entire Yampa Valley.

Editorial Board
• Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Tom Ross, reporter

• Hannah Hoffman, community representative

• Bob Schneider, community representative
Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.

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