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If you consider all the recent development downtown, including Howelsen Place, Olympian, 10th & Lincoln, E3, Paddle Wheel, Old Town Hot Springs remodel, Natural Grocers, and Holy Name - just to add a few - then add in planned development like the police station and YVEA re-purposing, one could argue this is already an bit of an "enterprise zone."
Current and past council's have taken the sales tax revenue from this zone and chosen to instead spend it on tangential items in other areas - like a $1.2m roundabout in a private street (Snapdragon Way) and a $10m police station not even on the parked projects list a few years ago. Now city staff and this council has a list of downtown projects that are so important they can't be funded with previous or current sales tax revenues but must be funded with the school's money, the county's money, the library's money, Horizon's money, and future city council's money.
A whole new spin on government using "other people's money."
(Although I am a member of the Steamboat Springs School Board, these comments are my own personal opinions and may not reflect those of my fellow board members)
Thankfully the school district is taking a community driven and fully transparent approach to this process. Should a bond be requested, this will provide real data to each and every voter as to the need we face and the confidence in the solutions requested for that need. It will then be up for the voters to decide.
I just received a pack of information from the assistant city manager. I'm assuming it's available to anyone else who asks.
I responded with the following clarifying questions, copying council:
Do you have any data confirming the positive impact to school districts?
Additionally, this data doesn't provide any context on the before-and-after renewal areas. For example, there's a big difference between taking "skid row" and turning it into something special versus downtown Steamboat, which already generates about 1/4 of our city's sales tax and has enjoyed 10-14% year-over-year growth.
And finally, do you have any examples of cities employing two URAs within the same 10-year period, especially within only a few miles of each other. This seems extremely unique.
I anxiously await the data Kenny mentioned.
Meanwhile, I've got data directly from the city sales tax reports showing downtown has been quite successful without a URA, including:
8.5% sales tax increase from Jan 2014 to Jan 2015 (peak winter)
11.9% sales tax increase from July 2014 to July 2015 (peak summer)
12.3% sales tax increase from May 2014 to May 2015 (off season)
You can also see the projects recently completed without a URA, including Howelsen Place, Olympian, E3, and the Old Town Hot Springs remodel, just to name a few. Each contributed to the increasing property tax revenue for the county, school district, Horizons, CMC, and library. To assume that no development like this would happen in the next 25 years without a URA and then cap those entities to existing base property tax levels plus inflation is one of the many, many flawed assumptions used by TIF supporters. After all, the city has publicly committed to selling the police station, with the fire and search/rescue building sale also being assumed. This alone would create the 40,000 square feet in new development assumed by the consultant's and city staff's model. Then there's YVEA, nearly a done deal to redevelop.
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I personally looked at the comparison salary data (versus other similar school districts) for each of our admin staff, teachers, and other employees. My vote for approving the budget was based on an adequate alignment with those groups compared to the peer districts.
Last login: Friday, March 27, 2015
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