If you go
What: Boulder City Council
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday; there is a 5 p.m. flood recovery update before the regular meeting
Where: Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway
Info: To read the memo on the "pay-as-you-go" tax and see the complete agenda, go to bit.ly/1kEgTbv
Boulder's 'pay-as-you-go' tax
The proposed "pay-as-you-go" sales tax before the City Council would raise about $27.6 million over three years, and fund projects that include:
$8.7 million for Civic Area improvements
$4 million for the Museum of Boulder
$3.85 million for renovations at the Dairy Center for the Arts
$2.5 million for an underpass at Arapahoe Avenue and 13th Street
$2 million for pedestrian lighting on University Hill
$1.5 million for pedestrian access and lighting at Chautauqua
$1.04 million for Boulder Creek path lighting
$885,000 for other creek path improvements
$750,000 for an "event street" in the Hill commercial district
$700,000 for Eben G. Fine Park stream bank restoration
$600,000 for public art
$520,000 for irrigation and street trees in the Hill commercial district.
Lighting along pedestrian routes on University Hill and along the Boulder Creek path, improvements to the Civic Area, more public art, and matching funds for a new Museum of Boulder are some of the projects that Boulder voters could be asked to fund with a short-term sales tax.
City officials have dubbed the proposed capital program "pay-as-you-go" to distinguish it from the more common capital bond programs.
Instead of issuing debt that would be paid down with revenue from a dedicated tax, the city would proceed with the identified projects as tax revenue came in over a three-year period.
There will be a public hearing and first vote on the proposed three-year, 0.3 percent sales tax Tuesday night. A second vote and public hearing are scheduled for Aug. 5.
The amount and term of the tax could change before it gets to the ballot.
The tax would raise an estimated $27.6 million over three years, according to a memo to the City Council. Each 0.1 percent generates about $3 million a year.
Boulder officials hope the tax will kickstart the rehabilitation of the Civic Area, the area bounded by Ninth and 17th streets and by Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue for which Boulder recently adopted a new master plan, and provide long-awaited public investment in University Hill.
Councilman Andrew Shoemaker, who lives on the Hill, said lighting along pedestrian routes might not seem like an exciting project, but it's one of the most frequently raised issues by students and residents.
He said more lighting along the most well-traveled routes will improve safety and accountability, with people less likely to litter or fight.
"It's a simple thing for safety," he said. "They're going to be walking. They're going to be walking at night. Let's make it safe."
The current project list includes $2 million for pedestrian lighting on University Hill, $750,000 for an "event street" in the commercial district that could be easily closed off and $520,000 for irrigation and street trees in the commercial district.
Shoemaker said it's time for the city to invest more in University Hill.
"It's been a neglected area of the city for a long time," he said. "It certainly has not received the attention that downtown has."
The proposal to use tax money for nonprofit organizations such as the Dairy Center for the Arts ($3.85 million) and the Museum of Boulder ($4 million), previously the Boulder History Museum, has been controversial at City Council.
The Museum of Boulder hopes to use an infusion of money from the city to spur a private capital campaign to turn the former Masonic Lodge at Pine Street and Broadway into a new museum dedicated to the city.
Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum has asked what will happen to the money if that campaign is unsuccessful.
A proposal to use money from the tax to rebuild the flood-ravaged Flatirons Event Center that used to house Spice of Life is no longer part of the capital program.
Many City Council members felt the cost to meet new flood requirements was too high when other event space may be built soon as part of the Civic Area or on the civic use pad at the St. Julien Hotel.
Councilman Tim Plass said he would have liked to see the event center rebuilt, but he understands the argument against it.
Plass said he hopes the variety of projects included in the package will generate broad community support.
"There are a lot of different constituencies who would support it," he said. "There are a lot of folks who would be out there working for it."