FACT CHECK: How will West Steamboat Neighborhoods pay for city services such as police, fire and EMS?
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The city of Steamboat Springs’ budget operates on sales tax. While there are property taxes on land in the Steamboat Springs area, none of this revenue ends up in city accounts. That means that services in the city — police, fire, emergency services, planning approvals — are funded in large part by sales tax revenue.
“Being there are no property taxes currently assessed by the city of Steamboat Springs, the (Steamboat Springs) City Council and developer had to devise another way to pay for ongoing city services,” City Manager Gary Suiter wrote in an email to Steamboat Pilot & Today. “So, they agreed on the Real Estate Transfer Assessments (RETA) as an alternate means to fund these ongoing services.”
The assessment will be equivalent to 1% of the purchase price on the sale of residential units. The revenue from this assessment will pay to provide city services to West Steamboat Neighborhoods, according to the annexation ordinance.
This assessment follows the home, so when the first homeowner sells a house, the second homeowner will have to pay the assessment when they purchase the home.
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Assuming a purchase price of at least $300,000 — the lowest price Brynn Grey Partners has said it aims to sell the homes for — that assessment would generate at least $3,000 for the city at each home’s sale.
If the assessment is determined to be invalid, West Steamboat Neighborhoods is required to provide an alternate mechanism to recover the cost of providing services.
This story is part of the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s ongoing Fact Check series, which is intended to answer readers’ questions about the proposed West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation. This series will be published with other annexation coverage at SteamboatPilot.com/news/annexation. If you have a question you’d like to see answered in Fact Check, email reporter Eleanor Hasenbeck at ehasenbeck@SteamboatPilot.com.
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