Steve Lewis

Steve Lewis 13 hours, 4 minutes ago on Sam Jones: Facts about URA elusive

Credit the Pilot with providing the links below Sam's letter. John Spezia and Paul Strong exemplify the manner with which we used to approach decisions. Today, after a few false starts, the police station project has seen several "open house" presentations and is receiving healthy attention and debate. The URA?


Steve Lewis 13 hours, 23 minutes ago on Sam Jones: Facts about URA elusive

John Spezia raised these questions about the previous URA in a letter to the editor, and council president Paul Strong later responded to them in a letter to the editor:

The undeveloped land in the URA,..., when built out will generate exponential tax-increment financing (TIF) property tax that will go to URA and not to all the services, needed support systems and districts that are necessary to meet the new growth demands. Sales tax and the restricted property tax will not support these new needs. How will the URA make up this difference?

Where would this money from the TIF originally go and what services and districts will not receive this money they ordinarily receive?

What is the process to change the boundaries if the public or the districts affected do not think they are working?

Commitment by property owners and developers is needed. The public and the districts need to see the following information from the developers or owners on their private property: A timeline for development, a physical plan for remodels or new buildings, the money commitment for a funding source for the URA, and a maintenance plan so they do not become "blighted" again.

A guarantee that inflation costs will be covered for all parties affected. Will the county's incremental tax increase of the base line that occurs every two years be sufficient to cover this?

Who controls the URA, who is on the URA board? Does the public have a seat on the board, who elects or appoints the board, how can they be removed, can the public have real input on these matters?

The state has reduced its shortfall to about $260 million after severely cutting back on roads, prisons, education and social services. The next areas to receive even more cuts are the schools as well as other vital social services. How can the state make up the shortfall to schools or other needs if this extra property tax goes to URA?

How many public meetings are planned to educate the public?

How much weight does the URA board give to public input? Can the public appeal through an inexpensive process? What is the process for rejecting the URA now or in the future? What are the legal means based on a home-rule charter?

How will the URA impact the city's bonding ratings? What if the URA can't fund the city's liability for these bonds?

What is the time period for the bond indebtedness? Can we change the time period if it is impacting the community negatively?

Most of the "blight" photos are of private land. Why don't the owners undertake better maintenance of their property? How will the community be assured they will do so in the future?

Why has there been no discussion on alternative solutions to the "blight"? What are some of the other methods that do not tax the community but those that directly benefit?


Steve Lewis 2 days, 12 hours ago on City Council, School Board discuss downtown urban renewal plan

Likely Kenny refers to the Anne Ricker studies and report done for this URA. I saw her preliminary presentation here in Spring of 2013, her firm is maybe the top URA specialist in Colorado, and she said the same thing as Kenny.

I have asked the city several times to see the Ricker consulting for this URA. They've had it for over a year. It is fundamental to understanding the projections and fiscal ramifications of the proposed URA. It may be poppycock or it may exceedingly sound. Either way the city should have released and described the relevance of the URA consulting it received long ago.

Unreleased consultant reports? Seriously?


Steve Lewis 3 days, 6 hours ago on Police chief misconduct accusations cast cloud over police station project

I'm told by city staff: The fire station is budgeted at $4M with $1.5M coming from outside sources, so the City’s cost is budgeted at $2.5 by 2019.


Steve Lewis 3 days, 12 hours ago on Steamboat City Council to hold emergency meeting to discuss police chief misconduct allegations

Try to recognize, everyone will lose in this story. Council, City, Rae, Kleiber, the community… no one comes out of this with a net positive. The whole will be regretted regardless of investigation findings. If Dave is correct he presented a necessary community pain, and he will bear more than his fair share of that pain. If Dave is wrong, Rae and the City still lose a lot.

That is not enough? You really need to throw in your own mud?


Steve Lewis 3 days, 22 hours ago on Steamboat City Council to hold emergency meeting to discuss police chief misconduct allegations

The Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency is a member-owned insurance cooperative. As a CIRSA member, the City should expect sound advice and expertise from CIRSA and its chosen investigator. Obviously the City and CIRSA have mutual insurance and liability interests, so I would assume this CIRSA investigator will not play a lead role in an investigation intended to restore community trust.


Steve Lewis 4 days, 11 hours ago on Letter to the editor: Former City Council members address current council about police department allegations

Stuart, I agree with the recommendations made in the letter. It is my hope that current city leadership was given the opportunity to proceed on these recommendations, prior to the decision to write this letter to the newspaper.


Steve Lewis 4 days, 12 hours ago on Letter to the editor: Former City Council members address current council about police department allegations

In the coming months I hope to understand why these signors felt publishing a letter to the editor was appropriate. I also hope to understand why Dave Kleibler felt it necessary to email his complaints to 25 members of the community.

In my view these approaches taken should be a last resort. The best step would have been privately asking the city manager and council president to take the recommended actions. Maybe this attempt was made and refused. A second step would have been sending these allegations to the state attorney general. Maybe Dave did this. The signors should have if current city leadership had refused to do so.

I have not read Dave's letter. I have only heard that it is coarse and personal, to the extent that it will not be published. I support the editor's decision in this regard.


Steve Lewis 6 days, 11 hours ago on Building a friendlier downtown: Steamboat Springs City Council weighs urban renewal plan

I have some city staff responses to my questions:

2) In the March 3 council packet, page 2.45, what is the $1.4 million line item for the promenade listed as Additional Projects and described as "Underground electrical/cable".

The $1.4 Million is for undergrounding of the power lines for the full length of Yampa St. Payed from the franchise agreement funds that are allocated each year for this purpose.

3) Do the city budget projections assume the airline tax will be approved next year?

No, they assume the .25% tax will not pass.

They will have an answer re: the fire station costs next week.