Tax Measure of Pet Projects?

In the past I have written about the long tradition in Fort Collins of citizens voting to tax themselves for public infrastructure improvements. Since 1973 city leaders have brought forward a series of proposed capital improvements for voter consideration. Many of the significant public infrastructure additions and improvements have come from these tax measures.

The last one was passed November 1, 2005.  Popularly known as “Building on Basics” – BOB for short – the measure was an extension of an existing 0.25% sales and use tax until December 31, 2015. The revenues have been used for such things as intersection improvements and traffic signals (including Harmony/College), Timberline Road – Drake Road to Prospect Road,  Lincoln Center renovation and cultural facilities plan, park upgrades and enhancements, Fort Collins Senior Center improvements and the Fort Collins Museum/Discovery Science Center joint facility.

With the tax due to expire, the City staff and Council are working on a new list. So far it has been…underwhelming?

The list looks more like a bureaucratic wish-list of pet projects than it does aspirational projects that address the most important community issues. For example, one of the biggest community problems is the train running through town. As discussed recently in the Chamber’s Local Legislative Affairs Committee, instead of cutting off cross streets (an idea that is being considered by the City) and adding crossing arms, isn’t it time to seriously consider grade separated crossings (streets over or under the railroad tracks)? And speaking of mobility, notice how light this list is in that regard. There are significant choke points in town that are not included.

The Council will be taking this list up again on December 9. If you have opinions about what should be included or dropped from the list, the time in now to weigh-in. You can find Council contact information here.