Real estate brokers weigh in on school bond measure impacts
October 11, 2015
Steamboat Springs — The passage of the Steamboat Springs School District's proposed bond measure would likely strengthen the city's reputation for good schools without deterring in-migration because of the increased taxes, according to a handful of local real estate brokers.
"Anytime you put money into the schools, it's going to be seen from the outside as a good thing," said Cam Boyd, co-owner of Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty. "And almost everyone that comes into Steamboat looks at what our tax rate is and they think it's very low."
Boyd and other brokers said when comparing Steamboat's tax rate to the rate in other areas from which people often move — California, Texas, the east coast or Chicago — prospective buyers find Steamboat's rate is lower and would likely still be lower even with a successful bond measure and mill levy override.
If the Steamboat Springs School District’s $92 million bond and mill levy override both passed, taxes on a $500,000 house would increase by $270 in 2016, and by another $32 through the next two years as the full MLO is implemented. Double those amounts for a $1 million home.
The taxes likely wouldn’t have a major impact on buyers from out of the area, who are regularly drawn to Steamboat for the community and its schools, according to Jon Wade, a broker with Colorado Group Realty’s The Steamboat Group.
“One of the reasons people with families stay in Steamboat is because the schools are so great,” he said.
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The impacts will be felt by locals though, Wade said.
"I think it's a fairly good impact for the locals, being that this an area where we're stretched by cost of living," Wade said. "For someone out of town, this isn't a particularly big deal, but for people in town, it's more of a big deal."
Wade said the impact may be greatest not for local homeowners, but for local business owners, who pay property taxes at a rate 3.64 times higher.
"While the impact may be low on our tax bill, it may impact the business owners that we depend on, and at some point, they'll have to pass that onto us," Wade said. "It will increase other impacts of our cost of living."
More yard signs in support of the bond measure than signs opposing are found in the West End Village neighborhood adjacent to the site of the proposed new high school, while a larger number of opposition signs are found directly across from Steamboat Springs High School, which raises the question: What would happen to property values with the construction of a new high school?
It's unlikely there would be any property value impacts around the existing high school, which would become a middle school, though it might make the neighborhood quieter, said Doug Labor, general manager of Sotheby's downtown office.
"The traffic, I would assume, would go down there with it becoming a middle school, so it would probably make it quieter to live there," Labor said. "But I don't think it would have an impact on property values there."
The construction of any new school usually does make nearby subdivisions more attractive and encourage development, which would likely happen if a high school were built on the Overlook site, according to Boyd.
"Anytime you add schools into the neighborhood, I think it's going to help build the neighborhood. I think it adds credibility," Boyd said. "There's going to be more demand out there. People are going to want to be close to the school."