Glenwood’s $56M streets question is city’s biggest dollar ask ever
A separate ballot question seeks authority to cover the cost of the proposed streets and utility projects through a $56 million bond issue.Much of the public debate in recent months, and some inherent confusion among residents, has centered on South Midland Avenue, which is already slated to be reconstructed aside from the new tax ask. The new ¾-cent tax would not fund that street rebuilding project at all, supporters have had to clarify during the campaign. Instead, a portion of the 2016 A&I sales tax renewal, in addition to last year’s $7 million federal Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant that was obtained by the city will go toward South Midland’s reconstruction. Instead, the ¾-cent tax will go toward “every other neighborhood street throughout the community,” supporters including Jonathan Godes, a current City Council member, and former Councilor Kathryn Trauger, said in a recent interview. Additionally, they pointed out that $14 million of the $56 million ask will go toward rebuilding and improving the underlying utilities beneath the streets, including “storm sewers, sewers, water mains, electrical upgrades, and broadband conduit.” The pro-streets tax campaign, Fix Our Streets Now, has touted the new sales tax as being as close to a free ride as Glenwood Springs residents will get for fixing its streets, since studies show the vast majority of sales taxes are paid by visitors and out-of-town residents who come to Glenwood to shop.
Opponents, including the Committee for Responsible Taxation campaign, have noted that the tax would bring Glenwood’s overall sales tax rate to one of the highest in the Roaring Fork Valley, and also question the city’s past spending habits in general.
The opposing committee has said the city should consider other funding mechanisms besides a sales tax, or wait for a future election year to build support for the proposal.
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