Oct 132010
 
Authors: Jordyn Dahl

Citizens of Larimer County will have the chance to vote on a .85 percent tax increase proposed by Fort Collins city officials this November.

The increase will offset the city’s potential loss of $5.4 million in revenue as a result of the economic recession. The city had money in reserve should a recession occur, but that money has run out within the past year.

If the tax goes through, it would generate $18.7 million annually for the city, according to Kelly DiMartino, communications and public involvement director for Fort Collins.

The revenue would go to the following services:

  • 50 percent for roads and other transportation infrastructure and services,
  • 33 percent toward street maintenance,
  • 17 percent toward transportation priorities
  • 17 percent for police services,
  • 11 percent for fire services,
  • 11 percent for parks maintenance and recreation services, and
  • 11 percent for other community priorities as determined by City Council.

The tax increase would end after 10 years at midnight on Dec. 31, 2020, according to a city council press release.

Student lives would be affected by the tax in terms of the services Fort Collins provides, such as parks, public safety and transportation, DiMartino said.

Proponents of the tax say it is necessary to maintain the quality of life Fort Collins citizens currently maintain and point to the fact that the tax hasn’t increased since 1982.

“We’re cutting into the services people want and expect from their city,” Mayor Doug Hutchinson said.

While the majority of city council supports the tax, two are not in favor.
“I think we need to better tighten the belt along with a tax increase,” said Wade Troxell, district-4 representative and opponent of the tax. “We can always tighten the belt in some way.”

If the tax passes, services such as public safety will be cut, with five to six police positions, including DUI and night patrol, being eliminated. A total of $1 million would be cut from the police budget.

Other services cut would include the Mulberry Pool and business hours at places like the Senior Center and the Northside Aztlan Center. The budget would cut flowers decorating downtown Fort Collins with the exception of those in Old Town square.

Troxell and Hutchinson addressed the Associated Students of CSU during Senate Wednesday night to offer their views on the tax before senators voted on a resolution to oppose the tax.

In the debate, many sided with Troxell and said that while police positions would be eliminated and their budget cut, the costs of enforcing the occupancy rule of three unrelated would remain the same at $250,000.

“Students are already paying more money because of housing,” said Senator Eric Roche.

While 12 senators were in favor of the resolution it failed by a 12-7-6 vote because the six abstentions were counted as no’s, raising the total against to 13.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Jordyn Dahl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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