Steamboat City Council to take final vote Tuesday on property tax
After nearly a year of discussion, Steamboat Springs City Council members will decide Tuesday whether or not voters will see a 2-mil property tax on the November ballot. If council passes the second reading, voters would still have to approve the measure before it takes effect.
Council members Heather Sloop and Lisel Petis voted against the first reading, as they believed too many people have dealt with financial struggles due to COVID-19 and would not vote in favor of another tax.
“I don’t discount the fact that there is a need for more money,” Sloop said. “I just don’t think this is the right timing for it, and I don’t think this is the right allocation for it.”
If the tax passes, council would like to use the money for parks and recreation, which council members in support of the measure said is vital to Steamboat’s quality of life. Council member Michael Buccino said he specifically supports the tax as he hopes it will provide a sustainable funding source for Howelsen Hill, which the city currently spends more than a million dollars on each year from its general fund.
“Right now, we are never, ever going to improve Howelsen Hill beyond the emergencies that are needed to keep it barely afloat without having a dedicated funding source,” Buccino said. “It’s a place for our youth. We don’t have after-school football or after-school sports like some cities; we have after-school winter activities.”
Steamboat City Manager Gary Suiter first brought the idea to council in 2020 as he said the city needed to diversify its funding sources, rather than relying solely on sales tax. After discussing multiple options for a tax, council ultimately settled on property tax, as members felt it was the most equitable and reliable.
Residents interested in sharing their views about the proposed property tax are invited to do so during the public comment section of council’s meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Those interested can either attend the meeting in-person in Centennial Hall or comment via Zoom using the link us02web.zoom.us/j/985289877.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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