Poll: Glenwood voters support renewing sales tax | PostIndependent.com

Poll: Glenwood voters support renewing sales tax

Ryan Hoffman

As the city considers a November ballot question, Glenwood Springs voters appear to be in favor of renewing an existing 1 percent sales tax set to expire in 2018, according to a poll commissioned by the city.

However, voters have less of an appetite when it comes to increasing the tax by half a percentage point.

The poll, which was conducted by Frederick Polls via phone in June, asked 300 voters a range of questions, including those related to the sales tax. The poll has a 5.6 margin of error.

Overall, 69 percent said they thought things in Glenwood Springs were going in the right direction, while 13 percent said things were heading in the wrong direction and 17 percent said they didn’t know.

The response to that broad question is noteworthy, according to city officials.

“City Council appreciates the overwhelming confidence our neighbors voiced regarding our economy and the direction the city is heading,” Mayor Mike Gamba said in a prepared statement.

Regarding an extension of the existing 1 percent sales tax, which voters approved in 1998 to help build a new raw water delivery system and fund other municipal projects, 81 percent of those polled favored extending the tax.

As for the length of the extension, 79 percent supported a 20-year extension generating $44 million, while 83 percent supported a 30-year extension generating $54 million.

The current tax sunsets at the end of 2018.

“I am very pleased with the results of the survey,” Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa said in an email. “It shows strong support for the renewal of the … tax and citizen satisfaction with the direction that the city is heading.”

When asked about a 1.5 percent sales tax, those polled were less inclined to be supportive, with 56 percent saying they would support the tax, while 28 percent said they would not support the tax.

An analysis of the results noted that only Democrats, newer residents and voters younger than 40 supported the 1.5 percent tax.

“Dynamics like this — tax increase ballots opposed by older, longterm, less liberal voters — tend to produce Election Day results lower than poll support,” the analysis stated. “The ‘against’ vote is always more motivated to show up and work to defeat a tax increase ballot than those who support it.”

Overall, 74 percent of those polled said they felt the level of local taxes was reasonable considering the services provided. Among the most negatively viewed issues facing the city are affordable housing, with 85 percent stating a negative view, and traffic, with 77 percent stating a negative view.

The poll also asked participants to identify potential projects that should be funded with the revenue from renewing the sales tax. Among the 12 projects, improvements to south Midland Avenue generated the most support, with 79 percent expressing a positive view of the project.

Building a new bridge across the Roaring Fork River to connect Highway 82 and Airport Road received a positive response from 76 percent of participants.

A new multi-field sports complex near the city’s recreation center generated the least amount of support, with 46 percent expressing a positive opinion of the project.

“City Council is enthusiastic in proceeding with projects voters have identified and that will make our community an even better place to live,” Gamba said in the statement.

Council is expected to discuss the poll at a July 21 work session. Council must decide by Sept. 9 on any questions it wants to put before voters in November.

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