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|October 1 - 7, 2009
City backs off on tax plan
City of Boulder officials announced Sept. 28 that the city will hold off on collecting controversial back taxes from construction contractors and re-examine the city code before taking any action.
The Construction Use Tax recently came under scrutiny when audits uncovered discrepancies in the amount of taxes owed to the city for construction projects dating back to 2006.
According to City Tax Code, contractors pay an estimated tax based on the construction permit and then must reconcile the estimate with actual costs upon completion of the project. Traditionally, project estimates and actual costs have been similar.
The results this year were different, raising questions about errors in the system and inequities among companies that were audited and those that weren’t. The larger-than-usual number of discrepancies prompted the city to send letters urging voluntary compliance with the code.
Approximately 1,000 contractors were to be notified to reconcile estimated construction values with actual project costs. The city had waived fines and penalties for those who comply before Dec. 31. The city now is delaying that compliance period pending a full review of the Construction Use Tax Code and associated collection and enforcement processes.
City Manager Jane Brautigam said the review should be completed within 60 days, and the city will not enforce the audit findings until the city is confident the process is clear and the proper system is in place.
Boulder City Council candidates will participate in small group discussions with the public regarding University Hill issues at The Hill Flea in Boulder from noon to 1 p.m. on Oct. 4. New Era Colorado will also be doing voter registration and address changes for voters. In addition, there will be early afternoon tango performances and open milonga to live tango music from 1 to 3 p.m. The market, located at the corner of 13th and Pennsylvania, runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 25.
Chancellor to speak
University of Colorado at Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano will deliver his annual State of the Campus Address at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5 in the University Memorial Center, Room 235.
DiStefano will discuss priorities under the Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan, the budget situation, the upcoming accreditation process and the future of outreach to the state, among other topics.
A reception follows the speech from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on the fifth-floor terrace of the UMC. The speech will be streamed live at www.newsteamboulder.org/streaming for those who cannot attend in person.
The text of the chancellor’s speech also will be posted on the chancellor’s website following the event at www.colorado.edu/chancellor.
Paving project on 119
The Colorado Department of Transportation started a surface treatment project on State Highway 119 between Jay Road and Hover Road on Sept. 28. The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of November, will involve rotomilling and paving 1.4 miles of SH 119 in asphalt.
“This is a minor maintenance project designed to improve the condition of the roadway,” says CDOT Project Engineer John Feuerstein. “We will work longer hours than normal to ensure that the project can be completed before winter.”
Throughout the project, motorists can expect single-lane closures on southbound SH 119 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and single-lane closures on northbound SH 119 from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
CDOT is reminding motorists to slow down and obey all traffic signs and flaggers. Fines will be doubled for most infractions that occur in a work zone.
Premier Paving Inc. is the contractor for the $2.3 million project.
‘Green’ workshops scheduled
Boulder Green Building Guild (BGBG), in partnership with Boulder County and the city of Boulder, will be hosting a two-day “Green from the Ground Up” residential green building training Oct. 8-9.
The workshop will be held at the Reynolds Library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. The cost is $285 for BGBG members and $325 for non-members. Speaker and author David Johnston of What’s Working Inc. will lead the workshop.
In addition, Scott Rodwin of Rodwin Architecture will be teaching a five-hour primer on residential “Green Building 101,” which will include information on how to meet the rigorous city of Boulder and Boulder County green building codes. The workshop is for builders, designers, realtors, green building professionals and homeowners of all levels of experience and is useful for those who want to take advantage of the ClimateSmart loan program. That workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Boulder County Public Health Complex.
Both trainings are eligible for Self-Reporting Credit through the American Institute of Architects. After taking the “Green From the Ground Up” workshop, participants will be eligible to take the Green Advantage Certification Exam on Oct. 15. Passage of that exam distinguishes the professional as an expert in sustainable building practices. More information is available online at www.bgbg.org.
Trail links Lafayette to Broomfield
The Boulder County Commissioners will lead a group of cyclists along a soft-surface path at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 5 to unveil a section of the Rock Creek Trail that links together a nearly six-mile stretch of path from Lafayette to Broomfield through county open space.
Commissioners Ben Pearlman, Cindy Domenico and Will Toor will cut a ribbon to officially open the .75-mile trail link, which includes two bridges and an underpass at U.S. 287, south of Dillon Road. The Rock Creek Trail — open to pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians — will now be continuous from 120th Street in Lafayette, through Rock Creek Farm, past Stearns Lake, and up to Brainard Drive in Broomfield.
Mouse’s Pie-R-Square Dance
The first-ever “Mouse’s Pie-R-Square Dance,” a fundraiser for KGNU Community Radio, will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the Altona Grange, which is at Nelson Road and 39th Street, (one mile east of Highway 36). The event, which will feature pies, ice cream, music, square dancing and horseshoes, costs $10 for those who bring a pie, $15 for those who don’t (children under 12 are free).
Swing State — featuring Greg Schochet on lead guitar and mandolin, Bill Pontarelli on clarinet, Ian Hutchison on bass, and Nancy Thorwardson on vocals, rhythm guitar and ukelele — will play, as will the Do-Right Sisters, a trio from Paonia featuring Marty Durlin (former KGNU manager) on piano and accordion, Shelley Gray (from Sweet Sunny South and Honey Don’t) on acoustic bass, and Sally Kane (Paonia radio station KVNF’s manager). KGNU’s Fergus will serve as emcee.
The event is a commemoration of Mouse Bradshaw, a beloved KGNU staff member of 20 years who passed away in 2007.
All the dances will be easy and taught first; no experience or partner required. Door prizes include an evening with local pie connoisseur and food writer John Lehndorff.
Tickets will be sold at the door the day of the event.
CU, city, county turn on new lights
The University of Colorado recently installed four solar-powered LED lights and poles on the multi-use path along Broadway near the University of Colorado.
The new energy-efficient lights supplement existing lights to increase safety at night. The solar-powered lights use approximately 3,000 fewer kilowatt hours (kWh) annually than traditional path lights, and because they operate on solar power, costly connections to existing utility lines were avoided.
The lighting project was paid for using a $25,000 Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) New Energy Communities Grant that was received in 2008. DOLA awarded the grant to CU, the city and Boulder County due to the project’s innovative approach at providing highly efficient lighting that increases safety and avoids additional greenhouse gas emissions.
City to spend some of surplus
The city of Boulder is expecting to have $960,000 in revenue that can be used to replace aging fire trucks and safety equipment for the fire department, thanks to voter approval of a tax measure in last year’s election. The funds will also be used to offset increased vehicle fuel expenses and energy and maintenance costs at city buildings.
In 2008, city council asked the voters to “de-Bruce” the remaining property tax in the city of Boulder, and the voters approved the measure, which essentially eliminated the restrictions placed on city property taxes by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).
The city is recommending that $483,500 of the money be spent on identified critical deficiencies, with the remainder held in reserve in the event that the current economic downturn continues or worsens.
“While some economists are predicting that the recession is nearing an end, experience tells us that the economy could encounter a false recovery or short-term boost and then slip again,” says City Finance Director Bob Eichem.
“If the economic recovery is slower than predicted or only bounces slightly before sliding backwards again, the city will need reserves to maintain core services to our residents,” he says. “We need to be prudent in our planning until the recession is truly over, at which point these reserves should be applied to restoring additional services or needed improvements.”
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