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Louisville city leaders know one thing for sure: The community wants infrastructure improvements along heavily trafficked sections of Colo. 42. But the scope of those improvements and how to pay for them remains far less clear.

City staffers brought several options before the Louisville City Council on Tuesday evening for consideration, but after more than two hours of discussion, there was little progress among the elected officials toward moving closer to a consensus.

One option under consideration is a $20 million package of roadway improvements along Colo. 42 and the addition of pedestrian underpasses at South Boulder Road and Short Street.

This package could be paid for with a bond on $1.3 million annually of existing city tax revenues or by asking voters to approve a 1.875 mils property tax increase.

Another option would be a $40 million package of Colo. 42 corridor improvements that would also add underpasses at Via Appia, the BNSF Bullhead Gulch rail crossing, and at South Boulder Road and Main Street.

Funding could come from a combination of $1.3 million annually of existing city tax revenues and a 1.875 mils property tax increase, or a 3.75 mils property tax increase.

Additionally, staff recommended budgeting $1.382 million over five years for new Public Works Department staffers and $10,000 to $25,000 per year on maintenance for the roadways and underpasses.

Louisville staff estimated the addition of a 1 mil tax would cost the average single-family homeowner $72 per year and $290 for commercial property owners.

Staffers were hoping to walk away from Tuesday’s meeting with some guidance as to which package the City Council preferred in order to start work on putting together language for a ballot measure, which must begin the municipal approval process by July in order to be included on the November ballot.

“We don’t have a lot of time to make changes,” Louisville City Manager Heather Balser said. “We’re going to have to make decisions pretty quickly.”

But disagreements over which sections of roadways and which underpasses to prioritize, combined with differing philosophies on how to fund the projects, left the City Council to merely request that staff return at a future meeting with additional information on funding scenarios such as use of reserve funds or delaying less important capital projects.

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