The City Council approved a request by the owners of the Twin Peaks Mall to seek approval to create a metropolitan district. The creation of a metropolitan district will give NewMark Merrill the ability to issue bonds and levy additional taxes on the property to pay for improvements. The 58-acre district will include everything within the mall’s ring road, except for Dillard’s.
An urban renewal authority created in the 2008-2009 and tax-increment financing may also be available to the company. In order to proceed, NewMark Merrill required City Council’s approval of a skeletal service plan. However, the company must submit a complete plan by Jan. 1, 2014. Note: It seems kind of silly to require a vote of one property owner, especially considering the property owner in question is requesting the metropolitan district. But any vote to increase taxes or issue bonds requires a vote under TABOR.
- School Board Puts Mill Levy Override on November Ballot: The St. Vrain Valley School District Board of Education unanimously approved putting a $14.8 million mill levy override on the November 6 ballot. Several Board members wanted to increase the amount to $16.8 million but the majority felt the lower amount was appropriate in difficult economic times. If approved the revenue will provide one-time raises to retain staff and teachers, upgrade the District’s technology and expand early childhood education.
- Voters to Decide on Fracking Ban: Fracking opponents were successful in their attempt to put a measure on the ballot that would prohibit hydraulic fracturing in Longmont. If passed in November, the ballot measurewould add the prohibition to the City Charter.
The City Clerk said over 6,600 signatures were validated by her office, far more than the 5,701 signatures required to add the question to the ballot. A group called Our Longmont circulated the petition. To read more about the group, visit http://ourlongmont.org
Note: Fracking and gas and oil development in general, are generating controversy in many local communities. Unfortunately, fear and speculation are more prevalent among citizens than actual data. Will voters invest the time and energy necessary to thoroughly educate themselves about fracking? Is it appropriate for citizens to vote on matters of public policy? Proponents like to say the vote is about local control but oil and gas are regulated at the State level for a reason. Even if voters approve this measure, the State will have to assert its authority just as it already has by taking the City to court over its proposed oil and gas regulations. In the meantime, Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway said his area would benefit from the billions of dollars that oil and gas companies plan to invest in the next five years.