Some city council members want to consider using police station cash on downtown projects
Steamboat Springs — When the Steamboat Springs City Council sits down July 7 to decide how it should fund millions of dollars worth of proposed downtown infrastructure improvements, it will have several options to choose from.
City Finance Director Kim Weber already had a number of alternative funding options ready for the council to look at earlier this month when the council rejected the use of tax increment financing to pay for improvements.
The options included a combination of cash reserves, grants, sidewalk assessments on private property owners and certificates of participation, among other things.
Some council members already have started discussing the possibility of taking some of the $8 million in cash reserves that is earmarked for the construction of a new police station and using the cash on some of the downtown improvements.
Part of the police station construction could then be financed.
Council member Tony Connell suggested the council should also reach out to Routt County to see if it would be a financial partner in the downtown improvement projects because of the additional sales tax revenue the projects could help to generate.
After the council rejected tax increment financing, it heard from several community members who were supportive of the decision.
However, many citizens urged the council to quickly find another way to pay for the projects.
“I don’t really care how (these projects get funded), because we’re talking about it finally and it seems you guys are actually going to take action on it,” downtown business owner Kim Haggarty said.
The council has already approved city staff’s proposed scope of downtown improvements.
It is a list of projects worth about $10.3 million and includes such things as new sidewalks, the under-grounding of utilities and a promenade on Yampa Street.
After paying for some of the projects with franchise fees and grants, the city has estimated it would need to find funding for $7.9 million worth of the downtown projects.
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Sherry Burlingame never imagined herself as a chief of police.