Despite an overwhelming rejection of tax increases in recent years the majority of the Loveland, CO. City Council recently decided to authorize the spending of up to $85,000 on consultants, who will allegedly help the council and staff in their efforts to convince voters and taxpayers a tax increase supposedly for the funding of capital projects is appropriate.
Voting in favor of the expenditure: Richard Ball, who represents Ward I, Joan Shaffer, who represents Ward 2, Leah Johnson, who represents Ward 2, John Fogle, who represents Ward 3, and the Mayor of Loveland, Cecil Gutierrez. Those voting against the expenditure included Dave Clark, who represents Ward 4, Steve Olson, who represents Ward 3, Troy Krenning, who represents Ward I, and Don Overcash, who represents Ward 4.
The experts who will be paid up to $85,000 are Paul Hanley of George K. Baum and Co., and Diane Jones. Funds for this expense will come from the city’s general fund.
If the experts and the council determine that voters and taxpayers are willing to increase the sales tax in Loveland for this purpose the question would be placed on the August 2018 ballot. All tax increases of this nature, according to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), require voter approval.
The proposed increase would be 0.5 percent, bringing the sales tax rate to 3.5 percent. The average Colorado Home Rule city has a 3.57 percent general sales tax rate.
If voters approved the increase the money generated would allegedly be spent on specific capital projects supposedly for the benefit of the city.
Over a ten year period the increase would theoretically generate $8.2 million.
Council members who opposed spending the money on consultants as well as the tax increase have argued that reallocating available funds instead of raising taxes is a more pragmatic approach.
Council members who support spending up to $85,000 assert that the process of determining whether or not voters and taxpayers would support the sales tax increase would be done in three steps: A needs assessment that allegedly includes defining priorities for capital projects and preparing a message for voters and taxpayers; a public information program involving open houses, meetings of a citizen task force, a letter to registered voter households, and other outreach efforts; and a community comment period involving a mail survey and telephone poll. Each step would also involve a review with the City Council and conclude with a formal presentation on community feedback.
If the Loveland City Council wanted actual opinion on the matter they would ask voters and taxpayers directly instead of spending almost $100,000 without due reason.