As Castle Rock City Council continues to take action to ask voters to approve four new revenue streams in the November election, residents, officials and organizations are starting to weigh in on proposed tax increases .
At the July 20 meeting, council members approved the first reading of four ordinances scheduled for the November 2 poll, asking voters to approve four separate tax measures:
Tax on the construction of new housing – If approved, the tax would require home builders to pay $ 7 per square foot on permits for new single and multi-family homes built in Castle Rock. The increased tax revenue would fund 75 police and fire stations over the next five years.
Accommodation tax – A tax of 6% on overnight stays of less than 30 days in the city. The revenues would go to the city’s parks and recreation services and maintenance operations.
Ssales tax increase – An additional tax of one penny on each taxable purchase of $ 10 to be used only for open space and trail purposes, including the preservation of open spaces. The city currently has a 4% sales tax. If approved by voters, sales taxes would rise to 4.1% in April of next year.
10-year TABOR expiration period – If approved, this would implement a 10 year expiration from the income restrictions of the state TABOR law. The additional revenue would be used for police and firefighters and help fund construction of the Interstate 25 interchange and Crystal Valley Parkway.
Morgan Cullen, director of government affairs for the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver, has spoken out against the proposed new home construction tax.
Cullen said if voters approve the proposed tax, it could add an additional $ 15,000 to $ 20,000 to the cost of building a home in an already short housing market.
Add that to the rising cost of lumber and building materials, and Cullen said around the same time next year that potential Castle Rock buyers could pay $ 50,000 more for a home.
“This new tax increase will put homeownership dreams out of the reach of tens of thousands of Coloradans and call into question whether the city’s projected income will actually materialize,” he said. “Where do you suggest people of modest means live here in Castle Rock?” Where do you propose to house those additional police and firefighters that you want to hire? They won’t be able to afford to live in Castle Rock.
Cullen said home builders are already paying “considerable” impact fees, while noting that the association is not in favor of placing Castle Rock’s current financial dilemmas on the shoulders of future residents. Additional police and fire resources benefit the entire community, Cullen said, and everyone should help pay the cost through other sources of revenue such as additional property taxes.
Douglas County Commissioner George Teal spoke in an official capacity and as a resident of Castle Rock. Teal has raised concerns over the measure asking voters to suspend TABOR refunds for 10 years.
City manager David Corliss said part of the need for a TABOR break is to pay for the construction of the Crystal Valley interchange at Interstate 25. Teal said when preparing the budget for the Coming year, Douglas County Commissioners plan to help pay for the costs of the project.
Although the final dollar amount has not been decided, Teal said aid to help the city will be “substantial”.
As a resident, Teal said he understands the dilemma Castle Rock Council faces in trying to overcome the lack of funding to meet the staffing needs of the police and fire department. Teal asked council members to “steer away from doing a TABOR timeout.”
Castle Rock couple Wayne and CarynAnn Harlos spoke out against the four proposed tax measures on July 6 and again at the July 20 meeting. Wayne challenged city officials saying the TABOR wait time is not a tax increase. Wayne said that under state law, the TABOR refund is part of returning excess income to residents. Wayne said those refunds are taxpayer money, which means if the city keeps them, it’s a tax increase.
For those who are “rich” in the community, Wayne said the proposed tax increases might mean nothing, but for those who are struggling, even a minimal increase in sales tax will make a big difference.
In a presentation to the council, Corliss said residents continued to submit more questions regarding the proposed tax measures. Corliss stressed that questions are welcome and will continue to be answered on the city’s website until August 17, when council is expected to approve the final ordinances.
Residents can submit questions through the feedback form on CRgov.com/2021Election.