Steamboat City Council to consider downtown investment plan Tuesday night |

Steamboat City Council to consider downtown investment plan Tuesday night

Traffic moves through downtown Steamboat Springs. The Steamboat Springs City Council is exploring the use of tax increment financing to fund millions of dollars worth of infrastructure improvements downtown.

— The Steamboat Springs City Council is coming back from spring break to a big agenda.

The city’s proposed downtown investment plan and a proposal for a new access to Emerald Park will headline Tuesday’s council meeting.

City staff will present the council with more details about the plans to improve the downtown corridor with new sidewalks and pedestrian lighting, among other things.

Staff and the council will also dig deeper into the possible financing of the improvements, with a focus on tax increment financing.

A majority of the council has indicated it wants to explore the possible use of the tax tool that takes a portion of sales and property tax revenue that is attributable to new development in an urban renewal area and redirects that money to improvement projects.

On March 3, the council endorsed a list of proposed downtown improvements worth $10.3 million, but with the caveats the list could be refined and a financing tool would have to be identified.

On Tuesday, city staff will outline the potential phasing of downtown projects under different funding scenarios.

For example, under one plan Yampa Street and Oak Street would see new sidewalks in year one of the plan, while new public restrooms would come in years two and three.

Staff will also talk more about the possibility of using sidewalk assessments to have property owners pay for the installation of new sidewalks downtown.

The downtown improvement projects have received support from many community members in recent months, but not everyone agrees on the best way to fund them.

As the city has weighed using tax increment financing, it has heard opposition from other taxing entities including Routt County and the Steamboat Springs School District that believe the tax tool would harm them.

The Steamboat Springs School Board believes the use of a TIF downtown would make the district more reliant on the state.

Routt County commissioners and the School Board also believe they could miss out on property tax increment they would get from new development regardless of whether or not the city improves the infrastructure downtown.

City officials say improving downtown infrastructure will spur more private development and benefit all taxing entities.

Council members who are supportive of using a TIF also believe it will benefit the entire community.

Interested in learning more about the proposed new access to Emerald Park, or want to weigh in? An update on the new access is on council’s agenda Tuesday night. Click here to learn more about the plan.

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