Steamboat Springs School District reveals preliminary tax impacts to fund new school construction

Teresa Ristow

— An investment banker Tuesday revealed preliminary tax impacts for using a bond referendum to fund options for new school construction under consideration by the Steamboat Springs School District.

Dan O’Connell, of RBC Capital Markets, said that, for the owner of a home valued at $431,000, a $104 million referendum would increase school-related property taxes from $580 to $823 annually.

A $75 million bond measure would raise school-related taxes from $580 to $740 annually, O’Connell said.

The $104 million example represents roughly the cost district-hired architects and an engineer have placed on an option to build a new high school and renovate existing schools, while the $75 million figure more closely represents the cost of options to build a new pre-kindergarten through fifth grade or a new pre-kindergarten through eighth grade campus, as well as renovations district-wide.

For residents wishing to calculate impacts on their own taxes, the impact per $100,000 of assessed value is an increase from current school-related taxes of $134 annually to $172 annually for a $75 million bond or $191 annually for a $104 million bond.

The impact for commercial buildings is 3.64 times the residential impact, or an increase of $138 annually, for a $75 million bond, or $207 annually for a $104 million bond.

“Please know that they’re very preliminary,” O’Connell said. “There are a lot of variables.”

O’Connell also shared a graph of historical tax bills over the past 20 years for owners with a home of median average value, which has fluctuated from as low as $233,000 in 1996 to $459,000 in 2008. The current median average home value is $431,000.

Following the 1997 bond measure to fund remodeling Steamboat Springs High School, the owners of median-valued homes were paying a 20-year high of $1,059 annually in school-related taxes. That amount has fluctuated, but generally dropped since, and sits at about $580 annually today.

O’Connell said district officials have yet to decide whether the district will also pursue a mill levy override to cover additional operating costs for running the new school.

The residential tax impact for every $1 million of a mill levy override would cost $9.34 annually per $100,000 of assessed residential value, or about $40 per year for a median-valued home.

Tuesday’s meeting to discuss tax impacts and further explore options for new construction was the most well-attended of five community facility meetings the district has held, with about 50 to 60 people in attendance.

Presentations, demographic reports and other information about the three options under consideration are on the district’s website, District officials are encouraging further input from the community on the options and are collecting emails sent to

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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