Published on the first Monday of each month by Bob Yates, Boulder City Council
Subscribers this month: 6,523

Let's raise your property taxes!
By Bob Yates 
That headline got your attention, didn’t it? I wish it was just an attention-grabber, but it’s not. A majority of the members on the Boulder City Council are aiming to do just that. They are working to put a measure on this November’s ballot that would raise your property taxes. Quite significantly.  

If you’re a homeowner in Boulder, your property taxes would go up by 3.8 mills, or about a 4.4 percent increase over what you are paying for property taxes right now. So, for a house that’s worth $1 million (a bit below average these days), that would mean you would pay an extra $272 per year, on top of your current tax bill. A house worth $2 million would see a $544 annual increase. You can do the math. And if you’re a tenant in a residential or commercial property, expect the landlord to pass that increase through to you. For commercial properties, state law means your increase will be four times bigger than for houses, about $1,102 for every $1 million in the building’s value. 

Why? What will all of this extra tax money—about $19.5 million—be spent on? Nothing you will probably notice. A majority on city council is poised to form a “library district” on April 5, with the intention that the new district then increase property taxes on families and businesses so it can operate the same library that the city has. The new library district would simply take over the city’s buildings and books. Same branches, same staff. You won’t get much more for it than you’re getting now. Someday, the new library district may open a new branch in Niwot. But, if you live in Boulder, that’s not a real plus. 
Ok, you might ask, if the city is getting out of the library business, won’t there be corresponding dollar-for-dollar tax relief? If our taxes are going up by $19.5 million so a new entity (a library district) can run the library, won’t the old entity (the city) save $19.5 million that will come back to taxpayers in the form of lower tax bills? 
Nope. Three reasons for that: First, there is an inherent inefficiency in the city spinning off the library. There is now a unified set of support systems to pay for all city services, including library employees, maintenance of library buildings, and for library support functions like IT, finance, legal, and HR. But, where there is now one government organization, there would be two, one housed in a brand new government entity that has never existed before or operated a library. It’s the opposite of economy of scale. Call it the diseconomy of inefficiency. 
The second reason why your taxes will go up is because...
 Read more ☞

They wouldn't print it if it wasn't true
Without politicians, journalists could write nothing. Without journalists, politicians could say anything.

While I don’t consider myself a politician (we prefer the more genteel, “elected official”), I fully understand the adversarial—yet dependent—relationship between those who govern and those who write about those who govern. We couldn’t be elected without them. They would be writing novels without us. 

I, myself, am a frustrated journalist. I was editor of my college and law school newspapers. If it had paid better, I would have chosen journalism as a career. So, I have a special admiration for those who write and who are paid poorly for it. They deal with ambiguous and unclear speakers, impossible deadlines, stifling word limits, and expectations of complete accuracy. All of this in an industry in the midst of a slow-motion economic collapse. We owe each steadfast journalist our deep gratitude.

Here in Boulder, we are blessed with four major publications, ranging from the 131-year-old Daily Camera, to the four-month-old Boulder Reporting Lab, with weekly reporting from each the Boulder Beat and the Boulder Weekly. You may read some or all. Each provides a valuable service to our town by reporting on what they see and hear, and by asking hard questions about what kind of community we should strive to be. 
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with reporters and editors from each of these four publications and turning the tables, by me interviewing them. Here’s what I learned about each, in reverse order of when they started
Read more ☞
Recent Votes & Positions:

CU South: At the February 15 city council meeting, I joined a unanimous council in rejecting a call by some in the community to reverse the September 2021 annexation of land known as CU South, which the city will use for South Boulder Creek flood mitigation. What was I thinking ☞

Guaranteed Income: At the February 15 city council meeting, I and others questioned the use of federal ARPA funding for a study of a potential city "guaranteed income" pilot program.  What was I thinking ☞

Climate Action: At the February 22 city council meeting, I joined a unanimous council in agreeing to ask the voters to decide in November whether to combine two existing climate action taxes into one, actually reducing the cost to most taxpayers, but increasing the amount available for climate action. What was I thinking ☞
In the News:

February 7, Daily Camera: Boulder City Council designates downtown Atrium building as historic landmark

February 8, Daily Camera: Boulder City Council majority supports moving library district vote to April public hearing

February 12, Boulder Beat: Boulder proposes suite of gun control legislation

February 15, Daily CameraBoulder City Council generally supportive of staff proposed plans for federal dollars

February 23, Boulder Reporting LabBoulder seeks new climate tax focused on safeguarding the city against extreme weather

March 2, Boulder Reporting LabBoulder can meet its affordable housing goals, but challenges loom

March 3, Boulder BeatBoulder's (questionable) crime wave
February 2022 issue on Feet Forward here
Find other recent past issues here
Next monthly issue April 4

Council Meetings & Study Sessions

Unless otherwise noted, all council meetings and study sessions and other meetings begin at 6:00 at City Council Chambers, second floor, 1777 Broadway. Information current as of first Monday of the month, but subject to change.
Confirm agendas 

Tuesday, March 8: Study Session
Safe streets report; boards & commissions appointments

Tuesday, March 15: Council Meeting  
Library district terms; ARPA allocations

Tuesdays, March 22 & 29: No Meetings
Spring break

Tuesday, April 5: Council Meeting  
Library district public hearing

Tuesday, April 12: Study Session
East Boulder Subcommunity Plan; racial equity

Contact Bob 
Voice Message: 720.310.5829
Office: 1777 Broadway, Boulder (email in advance for appointment)
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