School tax to increase revenue for the Steamboat Springs Urban Renewal Area |

School tax to increase revenue for the Steamboat Springs Urban Renewal Area

Skiers, snowboarders and visitors are treated to hot chocolate at the end of the ski day in January. The Urban Renewal Area funds improvements in the base area of Steamboat Resort.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A new property tax in Steamboat Springs is expected to generate more revenue for the Urban Renewal Area, the tax-increment finance district that aims to improve the base area at Steamboat Resort.

The Urban Renewal Area, or URA, uses tax increment financing to fund improvements in the district, starting with $20.56 million in tax increment revenue bonds in 2010, a form of debt security.

The city established a baseline of the assessed valuation of the mountain area. Once improvements take place and assessed valuations on properties in the area increase, the URA receives property and sales tax revenues above that baseline and uses that money to fund projects and, potentially, pay off the original bond.

In 2019, the URA was projected to receive about $2.1 million in property taxes, $1 million from sales taxes and $30,000 from other sources.

With new property taxes being levied for the Steamboat Springs School District that revenue is now projected to increase by about $200,000 to $290,000.

The city of Steamboat Springs opted to pursue an intergovernmental agreement with the URA to have the additional revenue that would’ve been generated for the URA by the 2-mill fire and emergency services tax remitted back to the city.

A similar situation occurred in 2018, after a 1-mill property tax to fund the Yampa Valley Housing Authority was approved by voters. Steamboat Springs City Council, acting as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority, agreed to pass through additional URA revenue from the increased mill levy to the city, which pays it to the Housing Authority. A similar process will soon be in place for the city’s 2-mill property tax to fund fire and emergency services.

“They will enter into an agreement with the city that says the URA will initially get that revenue and then will write a check back to the city, so that revenue goes to fire and EMS as it was originally intended,” said City Finance Director Kim Weber.

At a glance

Urban Renewal Authority projects included in the Urban Renewal Authority’s 2020 budget are:

• Completing landscaping and sidewalk improvements on Mount Werner Road and Mount Werner Circle ($620,000)
• Planning costs to complete landscaping and sidewalk improvements in the mountain area ($90,000)
• Design of a roundabout at Steamboat Boulevard and Mount Werner Road ($213,440)
• Design of a roundabout at the southern intersection of Mount Werner Road and U.S. Highway 40 ($77,840)
• Implementation of efforts to improve traffic flow for vehicles and pedestrians at the Gondola Transit Center ($60,000)
• Completion of final components of the Arnold Barn project ($50,000)
• Acquiring spare parts ($20,000)

The Steamboat Springs School District does not plan to pursue an intergovernmental agreement with the URA. The school district will receive the $1.2 million outlined in ballot measure 4A even if the URA hangs on to the additional revenue the increased property tax will generate.

“The district is not being harmed by the URA,” said Director of Finance and Operations Mark Rydberg. “We are collecting the amount of money that we need to collect.”

The difference between the city’s and the school district’s property taxes in relation to the URA comes down to ballot language. Being remitted money from the URA would push the school district into collecting an amount over what was stated on the ballot measure, which would violate the Colorado Tax Payer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR. The city included that money from the URA in the amount it said it planned to collect on the ballot.

A resolution approving the URA’s budget with changes to incorporate the additional funding from the school’s property tax and to pass-through funding from the city’s fire and emergency services tax back to the city of Steamboat Springs was approved unanimously.

City Council, acting, again, as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority, expressed interest in using the additional revenue to start paying back the URA’s debt in some form.

These additional funds were not included in the URA budget approved by the Redevelopment Authority. Those funds will be allocated in a supplemental budget at a later meeting.

To view the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority’s discussion on this topic and documents presented at the meeting, visit

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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