Steamboat CIty Council to discuss downtown funding, public safety facility with county commissioners |

Steamboat CIty Council to discuss downtown funding, public safety facility with county commissioners

— The Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County Board of County Commissioners will have a lot to talk about Tuesday night when they gather for their first joint meeting in several months.

The biggest agenda items include discussions about sharing public safety facility space, downtown improvements and their funding, affordable housing and alternative funding sources for the region’s parks and recreational amenities.

Here’s a quick look at what’s at stake during the discussions.

Shared facilities

Related story

Routt County Commissioners want to discuss possible collaboration with city on police station project

The city of Steamboat is planning for a new police station.

Routt County officials say their sheriff’s office needs more space.

Tuesday’s meeting could shed some light on the feasibility of a shared facility, as well as how elected city and county officials feel about the possibility.

On March 20, City Manager Deb Hinsvark and Police Chief Joel Rae met with County Manager Tom Sullivan and Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins to discuss the facility needs of both entities.

Hinsvark wrote a public summary of the meeting.

Wiggins reportedly told city officials he felt a reception area, training rooms, workout rooms and evidence rooms could be shared by the police department and the sheriff’s office.

City officials at the meeting reportedly told county representatives that “in the end, if the city found areas to share in its current programmed campus, it would be (a 400-square-foot workout area).”

A potential partnership between city and county on a shared public safety facility is one of the avenues the city’s police station citizens committee wants to consider.

The committee members earlier this week told city staff they want to know whether certain things, like evidence storage rooms, could be shared or if city staff doesn’t want to share them.

The committee members pointed to success stories in Craig and Pitkin County as reasons to look into a shared facility.

Downtown improvements

The Steamboat Springs City Council has resolved to spend millions to improve the infrastructure in downtown Steamboat and make the area a more pedestrian-friendly place.

The council will decide this spring how the project should be funded.

The funding option a majority of council members currently favor exploring is tax increment financing, a tool that takes a portion of sales and property tax revenue that is attributable to new development in an urban renewal area and redirects those proceeds to improvement projects.

The county commissioners oppose this tool if it includes property tax increment.

The commissioners believe they will lose out on some increased property tax revenue from new development in an urban renewal area they feel they will get regardless of whether the city improves the downtown infrastructure.

City officials and council members supportive of tax increment financing believe the investment in infrastructure will help spur private development.

Both sides will be able to discuss the possible downtown funding tools on Tuesday.

Parks and Rec

The city council recently endorsed the creation of a new working group to explore alternative forms of funding for Steamboat’s parks and recreation amenities.

Routt County Commissioners on Tuesday will see a presentation about the city’s parks and recreation funding challenges and some new potential funding sources. City council members saw the same presentation recently.

The city wants to gauge whether the county would like to be involved in the working group.

While the group will look at all funding options, the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission has so far mostly learned about parks and recreation districts that levy property taxes to help fund operations and amenities.

A district could be regional and extend into the county.

The joint meeting begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Citizens Hall.

Other agenda items include a resolution to amend a piece of the urban growth boundary and county-wide affordable housing.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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