Sharon A. Schilling: Let’s take a breather from voting for taxes

Vote no more taxes, renewals, new or otherwise, for anything. Think about it, If City Council and Jane Brautigam, city manager, can find millions of dollars to squander on divorcing Xcel Energy, then they surely can find the money they need to run the city without more taxes. Oh, sure it is nice to put more money into schools and all kinds of programs for the homeless and low-income, but think about it just a moment. Every time you extract more taxes are you not making another person homeless, marginalizing yet another person? Case in point, the gentleman who lost his home, a trailer in a trailer park, because he couldn’t pay his property taxes. Do you remember the story in the Camera?

Source: Sharon A. Schilling: Let’s take a breather from voting for taxes – Boulder Daily Camera

John Gerstle and Pat Shanks: Don’t compromise the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan

The Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP) is an agreement that guides land use in the Boulder County area that surrounds the city of Boulder (about 12,000 residents and 44,000 acres of land) and within the city (about 104,000 residents and 16,000 acres). Recent comments from several Boulder City Council members indicate some frustration with implementation of the BVCP using a process called “four-body review.” Under these time-honored and effective procedures, some BVCP changes of policy and land-use designation must be approved by majority votes of the four bodies with expertise in land-use decisions: City Council, Planning Board, county commissioners, and county Planning Commission.As former members and chairs of the county Planning Commission (both of us) and the city Planning Board (one of us), we believe we have a thorough understanding of BVCP processes. The four-body approval process ensures both responsiveness to the electoral process (all those formally involved in the approval process are either elected or appointed by elected officials) and long-term stability necessary for BVCP implementation, providing residents and local government a clear indication of how their neighborhoods and lands are to be managed in the coming years. Because of the BVCP’s important role in coordinating city and county actions and decisions, representing the interests of both city and county residents, and its generally acknowledged success over the past four decades, changes to the process by which the BVCP is adopted should be considered only with great care.

Read More: John Gerstle and Pat Shanks: Don’t compromise the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan – Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder Valley backing away from plan to sell Uni Hill Elementary to CU Boulder – Boulder Daily Camera

The Boulder Valley School District is backing away from a plan to sell the University Hill Elementary building to CU, Superintendent Bruce Messinger said at Tuesday’s school board meeting. The administrative recommendation not to move forward came after the board discussed a feasibility study on the plan Tuesday in a closed-door session to allow for confidential real estate discussions.The district-commissioned study, by architectural firm Hord Coplan Macht, is expected to be made public on Wednesday. But district officials said the study showed the proposal’s costs were prohibitive.

Though the district was waiting for the results of the feasibility study before soliciting community feedback, the proposal had drawn criticism from both parents and community members.

Read More: Boulder Valley backing away from plan to sell Uni Hill Elementary to CU Boulder – Boulder Daily Camera

Karen Sandburg: Affordable housing takes another hit

As commercial development explodes in Boulder, the most vulnerable among us continue to be shortchanged. Though new commercial development brings jobs, it increases the demand for already scarce housing, skyrocketing housing prices and rents. Consequently, longtime lower- and middle-income residents are being forced out of Boulder at an unprecedented rate. Attempting to address the affordable housing issue, City Council passed a $12-per-square-foot affordable housing (AH) linkage fee on commercial development, $3 less than city staff recommended. … Alas, it is business as usual on the council — emphasis on “business.” The special interests call the shots and the taxpayer foots the bill. Some things never change. Keep this in mind when November’s election rolls around.

Source: Karen Sandburg: Affordable housing takes another hit – Boulder Daily Camera

Uni-Hill Elementary School at risk — speak out this Wednesday at 5:30

Dear neighbors,
 
As you may have heard, the school district is considering selling the Uni Hill Elementary School campus to CU, and CU won’t disclose what they would do with the property.  All CU property is State of Colorado land not subject to Boulder jurisdiction so it is not bound by the city’s historic designation and they could raze the buildings and replace them with any use they choose.
During the 2014 bond election, we – neighbors, voters and taxpayers – were told that the Uni Hill School would be remodeled.  We were basically promised that the school would remain in the neighborhood as a draw for families with young children, as a source of joyous laughter and education during the day, and as park space for neighbors during non-school hours.
 
BVSD will decide soon, if they haven’t already, whether or not to sell the campus to CU.  (They aren’t considering any other buyers!)  
 
This coming Wednesday, January 18th at 5:30pm, the BVSD Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) will meet at the BVSD Ed Center, 6500 Arapahoe Ave, in the Board Room (where the School Board holds their public meetings).  You may have to enter through Security — the east side of the building, around the corner from the Board Room.  
 
Please join your neighbors in speaking to CBOC during the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting.  Let’s tell them that this is a bait & switch.  Even if you don’t want to speak, please come to support those who do speak.  Most people leave right after the public comment period.  More info at The CBOC website.  
 
An interesting tidbit — One of the people on the CBOC is Mary Ann Weideman, Boulder’s deputy city manager.
 
Let’s make sure that our neighborhood’s voice is heard. For more information about this issue, please visit the Uni Hill School Future website.

Allyn Feinberg and Felicity Wong: Walking back on BVSD’s 2014 promise

When you travel on I-25 in Denver, you can’t miss the Broncos’ Mile High Stadium. It dominates the landscape. And, when you travel on Broadway in Boulder, it’s hard to miss the grand, historic University Hill Elementary building across the street from CU. … Boulder Valley School District voters consented to renovating Uni Hill as part of the 2014 capital construction bond election. Now BVSD is considering selling the Uni Hill campus to CU … Why now, when the district has the money it needs to renovate Uni Hill? What “problem” is BVSD trying to solve?

Full Story: Allyn Feinberg and Felicity Wong: Walking back on BVSD’s 2014 promise – Boulder Daily Camera

Cosima Krueger-Cunningham: Rethink tax lien auctions

Lincoln Miller’s op-ed in response to Steve Pomerance’s column about property tax exemptions for the Masala co-op raises questions about Boulder County’s property tax lien auction. If the BHC/BHA “authority” setup exists to help low-income residents find affordable housing, then what is the justification for the BoCo property tax lien auction which penalizes financially-distressed property owners for failing to pay property taxes?

Full Story: Cosima Krueger-Cunningham: Rethink tax lien auctions – Boulder Daily Camera

A version of this letter was originally published on boulderna.org as Tax-exempt co-ops and property tax increases.