Boulder voters to decide whether to extend the city’s infrastructure sales tax

Boulder voters will decide on November 2 whether or not to extend a 0.3% sales tax for 15 years.

The Community, Culture, Resilience and Safety Tax, if approved, will help the city meet more than $ 300 million in unfunded capital needs.

According to the wording of the ballot, the money is specifically earmarked for a number of projects, including the maintenance and improvement of multimodal roads and tracks, the replacement of deteriorated sign posts, the replacement of the avenue bridge. Central, Boulder Creek Trail Corridor Improvement, Boulder Civic Zone Implementation and Central Park Improvement Projects, and Pearl Street Mall refresh.

The tax revenue would also support a number of projects for Boulder Fire-Rescue, including the completion of its Station # 3, the relocation or rebuilding of Station # 2 or # 4, and the purchase of vehicles from emergency for the department’s advanced survival efforts. .

Additionally, the city intends to renovate the East Boulder Community Center, and is working to acquire the city’s street lights, currently owned by Xcel Energy, and convert those street lights into more efficient LED lights.

In the future, the money could be allocated to future capital improvement projects that fall under the following general categories: transportation, climate, public safety, recreation and technology to improve customer service.

When interviewing community members, the resilience of the transportation system was the most sustained effort, with 81% of 1,911 respondents ranking it as extremely or very important. Progress towards climate goals and ensuring a “safe and prepared” rock were the second and third priorities, according to respondents.

Additionally, the capital tax extension, if approved, would set aside up to 10% of tax revenue to fund a grant fund for Boulder nonprofits as well as the costs of the city ​​related to the administration of the program.

The 2I voting measure is an extension, not a new initiative, so municipal sales tax rates will not increase if the measure is approved. A 0.3% sales tax on a $ 100 purchase is 30 cents, according to city information.

The original capital tax – formerly known as the community, culture and safety tax – was approved by voters in 2014 and extended for four years in 2017. The tax paid for a number of community projects, including the replacement of the Scott Carpenter pool, which Bloc completed last year.

With the tax revenue expected to generate around $ 11.5 million per year, Boulder would repay the $ 110 million bond, which voters must approve as part of a separate but related voting measure.

The measure, officially known as Ballot Measure 2J, asks whether voters support increasing Boulder’s debt to $ 110 million through a bond measure with a maximum repayment cost of $ 158 million.

Both measures are formally supported by all members of Boulder City Council and a number of community organizations, including the Boulder Chamber.

“This initiative secures funding otherwise unavailable to build and maintain important municipal infrastructure,” the chamber said in a statement.

The project selection process should have included more input from community stakeholders, the Chamber said. Despite this, the House recognized that the money from the capital tax extension will support investment projects that benefit local businesses, the environment and the residents of Boulder.

Going forward, if the sales tax extension and bonding are successful, the House said Boulder should establish a transparent process for oversight and accountability in the spending of funds.

There is no formal opposition to the extension of the tax on fixed assets infrastructure or to the obligation. However, there was debate at a public hearing earlier this year regarding how much the city should allocate to fund grants for the city’s various nonprofits.

Defenders, including those of Create Boulder, have been pushing for additional funds to support nonprofit arts and culture organizations that have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic.

While some city council members thought the same, the majority of council decided that while grant funding is important, so are the city’s infrastructure needs.

“On the allocation side, I remain convinced that it is time for us to seriously address our infrastructure needs,” board member Mark Wallach said at a meeting in August where the board spoke. agreed to send the extension of the infrastructure tax to the ballot.

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