Nov 092005
 
Authors: Hallie Woods

Each day, Fort Collins residents make their commute across the city angry at the traffic lights and narrow city roads. Frustrated travelers sigh as the light turns green but are unable to move forward.

Lack of traffic signals and streets too small to hold all the morning drivers are only some of the problems Issue 2A is intended to fix.

Issue 2A, also known as the Building on Basics (BOB) tax package, is set to increase Fort Collins taxes by an estimated $6,200.000 for the first fiscal year of 2006. City Manager Darin Atteberry estimates that for the next ten years, BOB would generate about $5.6 million each year for the next ten years.

"Issue 2A works fundamentally to protect the infrastructure of Fort Collins as well as daring to dream to assist in community vitality," said David Roy, City Councilman District 6.

Recently passed, the issue is set to renew Fort Collins' 1/4-cent capital sales and use tax. Originally, the tax was approved by voters in 1997, and is equivalent to 25 cents on a $100 purchase. The tax expires Dec. 21 and was originally used for community enhancement capital projects.

Prior to voting, Atteberry and City Council members supported the issue as an issue of improvement to the welfare of Fort Collins.

"City Council has adopted a resolution urging Fort Collins citizens to vote for City Ballot Issue 2A," said Atteberry in his monthly City Manager Update.

Resolution 2005-111 stated the City Council has undertaken a two-year process, identifying its highest priority capital needs, totaling over $300 million in the coming years.

With the encouragement of City Council, especially Atteberry, Fort Collins citizens passed the issue a week ago in the November elections. Although the first priority is unknown, the issue will lead to a diverse stretch of improvements that would affect all varieties of Fort Collins citizens. The implications of the issue range from road improvements to an upgrade at the Fort Collins Senior Center.

"As far as what comes first, the staff is working and will make recommendations to the city council," said Mayor Doug Hutchison. "The city council is interested in seeing what the priorities are."

Because the tax will begin being collected Jan. 1, immediate changes or improvements throughout the city are impossible.

"There was no provision for bonding, properly so, so we can't run out and borrow money to do something," Hutchison said. "It's a pay as you go program and will be carefully proportioned."

Harmony Road, one of the atriums of Fort Collins traffic, will not only be widened, traffic lights and signals will be improved throughout its stretch of Fort Collins. Timberline Road, another north to south mode of transportation, will also see improvements from Drake to Prospect roads.

Travel isn't the only recipient of the new incoming revenue; the Fort Collins library will collect money to enhance the technology available to its users. The Fort Collins Senior Center will improve, the Lincoln Center will be renovated, park upgrades, the implementation of a new bicycle program, and disability access improvements.

Fort Collins Police Services will also receive upgrades for computer aided dispatch, records and jail management system replacement project.

"It's relatively modest," Roy said. "but it will help the Fort Collins Police Services bring their operation more up to date."

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