What: Boulder City Council
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Boulder Municipal Building
More info: To read the complete open space acquisition plan and see the rest of the council agenda, go to tinyurl.com/cblf8q2.
Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks department's new acquisition plan adds acreage to connect trails around Boulder and removes lands farther north and east from city limits.
The Boulder City Council will consider the Open Space and Mountain Parks acquisition plan at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Open Space and Mountain Parks Director Mike Patton said the acquisition plan is a "reaffirmation" of previous plans and maintains the previous priorities of the open space department. Those include protecting environmentally sensitive lands from development, preserving agricultural lands, providing passive recreational opportunities and shaping the urban boundaries of Boulder.
The new plan adds lands to reflect two new City Council priorities -- providing connections between existing trails to eventually complete a "Trail Around Boulder" and protecting land in Leyden Gulch.
The plan reflects the fact that two sales taxes -- a 0.33 percent sales initially approved in 1989 and extended in 1997 and a 0.15 percent tax approved in 2003 -- are set to expire in 2018 and 2019. Those taxes provide about 55 percent of open space's budget and are used largely for acquisition of new properties.
When those expire, the open space department's available revenue will go down by 55 percent.
The department has to scale back land purchases in advance of the taxes' expiration dates because without identified future revenue streams, the department cannot take out bonds.
Alternatively, the City Council could place the open space taxes on the ballot prior to the expiration dates to give the department more purchasing power.
The permanent 0.4 percent sales tax is enough to support operations and maintenance of existing lands and future purchases, but not enough to finance new land acquisitions, officials said.
Of the 5,815 acres identified for potential acquisition in the last update in 2006, the city has bought 1,070 acres and the county has bought another 1,452 acres, according to the acquisition plan. The open space department has also added acreage to the plan, including 900 acres around Leyden Gulch and 1,700 acres to complete trail connections for a future "Trail Around Boulder," in accordance with council priorities.
The department has also removed 269 acres the plan. The city no longer plans to pursue property north of Nelson Road or east of 63rd Street.
According a memo to City Council on the open space plan, the city is in active negotiations for another 1,000 acres.
The plan identifies far more land than could be bought because the city is dependent on land coming up for sale and agreeing on a price with the sellers.
Patton said the department is not asking that the tax be extended. Rather, the City Council will decide whether the amount of land the city would like to purchase merits asking voters for an extension.
"If this is the plan that we want, what does it take to do it?" Patton said.
Open Space Trustee Allyn Feinberg said she hopes the City Council puts the taxes before the voters soon.
"We're in a position of waiting to see what the council's position is, but in order to pursue the acquisition plan in the accelerated form, we're going to need to extend that tax in some form or another," Feinberg said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or email@example.com.