Government Affairs: Longmont

April 10, 2019

Manufactured Homes Won’t Be Taxed

The Longmont City Council agreed in principle that it doesn’t want to require buyers of manufactured homes to pay sales tax. Because these homes are classified as “tangible personal property” and not “real property,” in theory buyers should pay city sales tax. Boulder County has not charged the sales tax but brought the situation to the City’s attention last year. After a brief discussion, Mayor Brian Bagley made a motion to direct staff to draft an ordinance exempting manufactured homes from sales tax. The motion passed unanimously.

Council Discusses County Affordable Housing Tax

Last week the City Council was asked to consider a proposal from the Boulder County Regional Housing Partnership to place a tax question on the ballot to fund affordable housing. The Council signed an Intergovernmental Agreement last year in which it supported the Partnership’s goal of having 12 percent of the County’s total housing stock permanently affordable by 2035.

This month the Partnership asked all participating jurisdictions to consider the concept of an affordable housing tax to meet the 12 percent goal. It has proposed a scenario in which the revenue generated by the tax would be split into two pots. 75 percent of the revenues would be distributed to communities based on population. The remaining 25 percent would be distributed in a competitive process. According to staff, it is estimated Longmont would receive $2 to $4 million from the first pot of money.

A poll earlier this year of County residents showed between 55 and 56 percent of respondents would support a property or sales tax*, which is below the magic 60 percent number that pollsters say is enough to move forward with a ballot measure. The Partnership plans to conduct another poll in May with more exact language to try and determine if a ballot measure should move forward. In the meantime, the Partnership wanted feedback from participating jurisdictions as to their tax preference and if the proposal should be put on the 2019 or 2020 ballot.

Longmont faces a dilemma because the Council is considering several ballot measures of its own for 2019. One question would ask voters to approve the continuation of the City’s .75 transportation sales tax, another question would ask for approval to bond for an aquatic center and an ice rink and the third question would establish a tax-supported library district. For this reason, the Council expressed reservations about adding the affordable housing tax question to the ballot this year.

Bonnie Finley was the sole Council member to articulate her opposition to the affordable housing tax. She suggested a poll of Longmont residents to ascertain the level of the support for the proposal before making any decision. This motion passed, with Mayor Pro Tem Polly Christensen opposed.

* A 1.25 mils property tax or a .185 or .365 percent sales tax.

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