TIF gets OK from City Council
Downtown Glenwood Springs is set to get a whole lot nicer.
The Glenwood Springs City Council approved a new financing mechanism for the Downtown Development Authority in a 5-1 vote Thursday.
The resolution establishes a base year for tax increment financing. The TIF enables the DDA to collect future growth in sales and property tax revenues, and use it to improve the downtown area.
Garfield County officials expressed serious reservations to the Glenwood Springs City Council at the council’s meeting Thursday night.
“We’re fine with everything except the property taxes,” Garfield County Commissioner Walt Stowe said. “My concern comes with the loss of millions to Garfield County.”
He warned that the system could raise property taxes for Garfield County residents.
“Ultimately, funds are being taken from one entity and being given to another entity, without voter approval,” Stowe said.
In an estimate showing the possible revenues that could be lost to other districts, county manager assistant Jesse Smith said if Glenwood Meadows is included in the DDA district, around $90 million in county tax revenues could be lost to the DDA within 15 years.
In the end, however, their comments failed to persuade the council.
Former city councilman and DDA board member Bob Zanella said the county has nothing to worry about.
“They are going to get the money to do the job because they’ll raise the mill levy appropriately,” Zanella said.
DDA director Bill Evans said he did not dispute Smith’s numbers.
Councilman Dave Merritt was the lone dissenter on the TIF funding mechanism. Mayor Don Vanderhoof was absent.
“I feel that we are taking money from the other entities – we do have tax votes for a reason,” Merritt said.
Council approved the TIF funding at 50 percent for in-district sales taxes and 100 percent for in-district property taxes on new construction and improvements.
“I have no problem at all supporting this,” Councilman Don Gillespie said.
To the arguments by Garfield County officials that they could run out of money for road paving and the sheriff’s department, Gillespie said, “They’ll find ways to take care of that.”
“We are a part of the county,” Mayor Pro tem Rick Davis reminded county officials. Sometimes we don’t feel like it, but we are.
“The history pans out that it’s a boon to everybody,” he said.
But Davis said he would vote against annexing Glenwood Meadows into the DDA.
The TIF system is supposed to be set up in a way to provide financing for the DDA – an organization created to improve and revitalize the downtown area – without raising taxes.
Some argue that the system will lead to tax increases anyway.
The TIF base year is March 1, 2001, to Feb. 28, 2002.
The property and sales taxes collected during that time would become the base value, or set the floor, for the TIF. The tax increases are collected by the DDA for the next 25 years.
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