Parties mum on TIF talks
Information on the status of negotiations regarding the controversial Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority’s tax increment financing system is being kept quiet by those involved.
It’s been four weeks since the Colorado Mountain College Board of Directors decided to negotiate with the DDA and the city of Glenwood Springs on how to handle the DDA’s tax increment financing system.
Yet there is still no official word on the progress of those negotiations.
CMC charges that the tax increment financing will siphon away tax revenues needed by the college to DDA projects. Garfield County government joined CMC in filing suit against the city and the DDA over the City Council-approved tax diversion.
On May 16, Glenwood Springs City Council held a closed-door session to discuss the issue, but none of the discussions have been made public.
Glenwood Springs city manager Mike Copp said while he could not share the content of discussions that went on during the executive session, nothing substantive has happened yet.
Lame duck DDA director Bill Evans, whose last day as director is May 31, said he hasn’t heard anything either.
“It’s frustrating, probably more so for our board than the newspaper,” Evans said. “I think they have talked … but there’s been nothing official.”
On April 29, CMC board members voted to negotiate rather than serve the civil lawsuit, which the board’s attorney filed in Ninth District Court on April 19.
The decision authorized the college’s staff and board members to negotiate with representatives of Glenwood Springs and the city’s Downtown Development Authority on how and where the DDA’s tax increment financing will be collected.
Tax increment financing, or TIF, is a system of generating money to pay for projects by using a portion of sales tax revenues and the rise in property tax, or ad valorem, revenues.
The year leading up to Feb. 28, 2002, was designated as the base year for the TIF. So 50 percent of the growth in city sales tax revenues in the downtown district and 100 percent of the rise in property taxes within the district after that year will be allocated to the DDA.
The revenues would pay for ventures such as a new parking structure or other downtown improvement projects. The financing system lasts for 25 years.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of CMC, Garfield County and two taxpayers against the city and the DDA, remains in place. If negotiations fail, papers could be served to the defendants.
The suit alleges that the DDA’s funding mechanism, tax increment financing, would take some tax money, possibly a substantial amount, away from the CMC, the county, Re-1 School District and taxpayers in general.
DDA representatives counter those arguments by saying their efforts will increase property values at a faster pace than they are growing already, yielding a net increase in tax revenues for other taxing districts too.
The two main concerns voiced by the CMC board are that Glenwood Meadows – a large commercial and residential development that’s already approved in Glenwood Springs – will be annexed into the DDA. The CMC board would also like to see whether a cap can be placed on the amount of tax increment financing revenue collected by the DDA.
CMC spokesman Joe Marquez previously said the CMC board had hoped to resolve the issues within 30 days – but that would mean a solution needs to be found by Wednesday. CMC officials weren’t available for comment Friday.
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