Arvada, Lakewood each put spending measures on November ballot that avoid tax increases
Measures would fund transportation improvements, open space purchases
PUBLISHED: August 28, 2018 at 6:11 pm |
Suburban voters west of Denver will weigh in on more than $100 million in municipal spending proposals on this fall’s ballot, with Arvada residents set to vote on two major road projects and residents in Lakewood ready to decide whether the city can hang on to extra revenues to fix roads, buy open space property and purchase law enforcement equipment.
Each ballot measure was sent to the Nov. 6 ballot Monday night by a vote of the city council in its community. Neither would raise taxes.
Lakewood’s measure asks voters if the city can retain and spend $12.5 million in revenues it collected in 2017 that exceed what the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, permits governments in Colorado to keep. The measure also asks if the city can do the same with any excess money it collects through fiscal year 2025.
The extra $12.5 million taken in last year would be allocated as follows: $8.5 million for open space and parkland purchases, $2 million for police protective gear, and $2 million for infrastructure and transportation improvements. In future years, retained revenues would be assigned evenly among the three categories.
“This is a great opportunity for Lakewood residents to reinvest substantial dollars back into our community for important city services like police, infrastructure and parkland – all without raising taxes,” Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul said Tuesday.
Lakewood voters have a long history of overriding TABOR spending limits, including a vote in 1999 that directed the city to keep excess revenues for the following seven years.
In Arvada, city leaders on Monday sent a bond issue to the ballot that, if approved, will allow the city to issue up to $125 million in debt to overhaul two heavily traveled corridors in the fast-growing city.
Ralston Road would be widened between Garrison and Yukon streets, with sidewalks rebuilt and room added for bicycles. West 72nd Avenue, between Kipling and Simms streets, would also see capacity added for vehicles and bikes. But the most ambitious aspect of the project would be the construction of an underpass at the Union Pacific railroad crossing, just east of Oak Street, which the city characterizes as a “bottleneck” area.
The cost to overhaul both corridors is estimated at $80 million, but with interest payments added over time the total debt to fund the effort is expected to reach $125 million. It will be repaid with existing revenue, city officials said.
Two years ago, Arvada residents rejected a measure that would have hiked the city’s sales tax to pay for $9 million in road repairs.