Chuck McConnell: Voters should decide
A committee of local residents has formed to amend the Steamboat Springs Home Rule Charter. We think the important decision of whether Steamboat Springs should use tax increment financing to pay for improvements to an area of downtown should be in the hands of voters and not a simple four vote majority of city council.
This downtown area would be designated as a blighted, urban renewal authority area. In addition to questioning the financing method, I think it is wrong to call our downtown “blighted” in order to facilitate a questionable financing method. Our city is recognized nation (and world) wide as a beautiful destination location.
Our committee is concerned because the TIF method will redirect tax revenues otherwise going to the Steamboat Springs School District, the library and other voter-approved districts to pay for those improvements.
The committee will circulate a petition to change our city charter to ensure that any city council action approving a URA plan must be approved by the registered electors of the city of Steamboat Springs if the approval proposes TIF financing. The petition will require signatures of 5 percent of registered city voters for the initiative to be a part of the Nov. 3 general election.
The committee has filed with the city clerk a statement of intent to circulate the petition, and the petitions are now in the hands of circulators who will be asking for your signature. The petition does not ask you to be “for” or “against” the downtown project, simply that you want the ability to vote to approve or disapprove such a project financed by TIF.
Littleton voters in March this year voted 60 percent to 40 percent to have their say.
With the controversy surrounding the TIF financing method now proposed for Steamboat’s URA project as well as the new bipartisan law just signed this week by the governor, I think the people should have the right to vote on the direction of their tax money for these projects. Please sign the petition and have your voice heard in the spending of your tax dollars.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The search for the second-ever Routt County manager is starting up again, renewing an effort that failed to fill the role last summer.