Building a friendlier downtown: School board, county commissioners oppose downtown URA plan |

Building a friendlier downtown: School board, county commissioners oppose downtown URA plan

Traffic moves through downtown Steamboat Springs. The Steamboat Springs City Council is exploring the use of tax increment financing to fund millions of dollars worth of infrastructure improvements downtown.

As the Steamboat Springs City Council edges closer to creating a new urban renewal area downtown, other taxing entities continue to oppose the possibility of using property tax increment financing to fund the projects.

Members of the Steamboat Springs School Board have been the most vocal in their opposition, saying the use of property tax revenue in a TIF would make them more reliant on a state funding system that can be unreliable.

“Please find a way to not make us more dependent on the state” for funding, School Board President Roger Good told the council in January.

Some members of the council agree, and in the coming weeks want to find a way to alleviate the concerns of other taxing entities.

That could mean leaving property tax revenue out of the TIF altogether.

There are other reasons other taxing entities are speaking out.

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger argues that private investment will occur in downtown Steamboat regardless of whether the city improves the infrastructure.

“Nobody is doubting these projects” are needed downtown, Monger said Monday. “Maybe they should have been done 10 years ago. Our situation continues to be that we don’t believe those projects being done will stimulate additional growth. There will be growth in the city regardless of whether those improvements get made or not.”

The council and county commissioners will likely discuss the proposed urban renewal plan again at a joint meeting next month.

The council is still working to schedule its first meeting with the school board to discuss the plans.

City staff met with the board to discuss the plan last year, and it got a cold reception.

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