By Will Grandbois
Sopris Sun Staff
With the deadline to place the Town’s streetscape mill levy in the next election, the Carbondale Board of Trustees opted to stick with the existing rate rather than increase it or delay the vote.
Trustees have been looking for ways to create a capital improvements fund, rather than budgeting for a reserve reduction to accommodate such projects. The renewal of the mill levy, which expires in 2020, seemed like an opportunity to do that — but time was short.
“If you want to change this language, you need to draft it right now,” Town Manager Jay Harrington told the board.
That wouldn’t be the case for the November ballot, but Trustee Marty Silverstein had doubts about its ability to pass at that juncture.
“I think we do better if we get it on a municipal election rather than a national election,” he said. “I realize this does not provide adequate funding for what we would like, but I think this is an opportune time.”
Harrington also had concerns about potential competition.
“There are some other potential property tax issues out there,” he said. “I think RFTA’s is the most prominent right now.”
Trustee Ben Bohmfalk, however, expressed a desire to seize the moment and double the modest 1.5 mill rate.
“It’s disappointing that we’re having this discussion today,” he said. “It just puts us in a position where we’re probably going to come back with another question.”
For Mayor Dan Richardson, a rush job was worse than the status quo.
“I think there’s still sentiment out there that once City Market comes on board you’re going to see more revenue,” he said.
Meanwhile, the consequences of not at least keeping the current rate could be significant.
“If we don’t get this renewed, I think we face a real challenge,” Harrington said.
In the end, despite sentiments of a missed opportunity, the decision was unanimous.