What: Boulder City Council
When: 5 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway
More info: To read about possible November ballot measures and see the entire agenda, go to bit.ly/11z5M93.
The Boulder City Council will consider a number of possible ballot measures -- including tax measures and charter amendments -- at its Tuesday meeting.
The City Council won't vote on which items to place on the November ballot until the July 16 meeting, but they'll provide feedback to city staff on which issues should be further developed for voter consideration.
They range from open space taxes to a change in how the city sells bonds.
At the same time, a citizens' group is seeking to put a charter amendment on the ballot that would require a second vote on municipalization before the city could sell bonds for an electric utility.
In a memo to City Council, city staff is recommending that the council move forward with a marijuana excise tax and leave other tax measures for 2014 or later. They plan to do a comprehensive financial analysis of the city's taxes and revenue needs early in 2014.
They also recommend that City Council ask voters for a charter change to allow negotiated bond sales because they think that approach will give the city a better deal on bonds for a municipal energy utility.
Here are the possible ballot measures the council will debate:
Marijuana excise tax: This tax would allow the city to collect revenue from cultivation and infused product manufacturing operations. Currently, the city only collects regular sales tax from retail stores. City officials have proposed asking voters to approve an excise tax of up to 15 percent, but the tax might be set at a lower rate.
Voters across Colorado will also be voting on a state 15 percent excise and 15 percent sales taxes on marijuana, although the actual sales tax will be 10 percent for now. Boulder will get 15 percent of the state sales tax on recreational marijuana sold within city limits.
Open space taxes: Two sales taxes dedicated to open space -- one for 0.33 percent and another for 0.15 percent -- are set to expire in 2018 and 2019. Even though the expiration is years off, the open space department will have difficulty issuing bonds if at least one of those taxes isn't renewed earlier to guarantee future revenues.
One option suggested by city staff is asking voters to approve a 0.05 percent increment, bringing the smaller sales tax to 0.20 percent to replace a current $1 million annual transfer from the general fund to open space.
Transportation maintenance fee or tax: City transportation planners want to raise between $2.5 million and $5.6 million a year for pavement maintenance through a fee or tax on utility bills. Officials say the city is falling behind on road maintenance as sales tax revenue has declined and costs have risen. The amount of the tax would vary based on calculations that connect building type to typical vehicle use.
Some City Council members also want that tax to fund transit improvements.
At previous council meetings, some members preferred a head tax on employees or a sales tax to pay for transportation. Councilwoman K.C. Becker last week proposed asking voters to change one of the open space taxes to transportation and general fund purposes.
The state may ask voters to approve a 0.7 percent sales tax for transportation in 2014, which could make 2013 a better year to ask voters to approve a local tax.
Negotiated bond sales: City charter requires that all city bond sales be competitive. However, city finance officials believe the city might get a better deal on bonds for a future municipal electric utility through a negotiated bond sale. While the city has a good bond rating, the municipal utility would be a new entity with no track record. A negotiated bond sale would allow the city to market the bonds locally or to people interested in the city's environmental goals, as well as to investors looking to make a profit.
The proposed charter amendment would require the city to use a competitive process to select the underwriter for any negotiated bond sales. Another option is to craft a charter amendment that would allow a hybrid approach that used both types of bond sales.
Blue Line boundaries: This charter amendment would clarify the boundaries of the "Blue Line," outside of which the city cannot provide water service. Providing service further west could make more water available to firefighters dealing with wildland fires in mountain neighborhoods, but some environmental activists are concerned about encouraging further growth.
This amendment is likely to be postponed until a future election because of the amount of work involved in resolving the boundary issues.
Non-electors serving on boards and commissions: The city's Human Relations Commission wants non-electors -- people not registered to vote -- who have lived in the city at least a year to be able to serve on volunteer boards and commissions. This charter change would allow immigrants who are not citizens to serve on these bodies and foster more inclusion, commission members said. A nearly identical charter amendment was defeated in 2008.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.