Is city council failure to keep Arvada's streets maintained going to mean higher taxes?
By Cindi Kreutzer
If you have had a chance to look through your April/May 2016 issue of the Arvada Report, you have seen the article regarding the declining condition of Arvada streets (Arvada Report - Streets).
There were a couple of points that were not mentioned in the article.
First, during the most recent Citizens Capital Improvement Project Committee, we were told by city staff that even if adequate funding were available, it would take several years to make a significant dent in the necessary repairs because these types of projects require city employees functioning as Project Managers to oversee the contractors performing the work. In addition, it would have a very negative effect on traffic if too many projects were being done at the same time.
Second, in the final paragraph of the article it says:
“Arvada City Council is studying various alternatives to deal with our steadily deteriorating streets”.
What is not mentioned is that just a few weeks ago in a City Council Workshop there was a discussion that city staff and council are seriously considering the possibility of making this a ballot issue in November, 2016 by asking for a .5% hike in city sales tax to pay for street maintenance. The result of such an increase would make Arvada the highest city sales tax rate at 3.96% of all of the 11 cities in Colorado with a population over 100,000. There are a few smaller cities with higher city tax rates but they are not included in the following chart because more population means more “buying power”. It stands to reason that larger cities get better pricing per unit on many goods and services, thereby reducing the per capita revenue required to manage the city.
Is an increase in city sales tax how we should pay for street maintenance?
Or is it possible to better manage the city’s general fund?
Finally, with our streets allowed to deteriorate to this point, should we be pursuing more major high density housing and population growth that will only add to the traffic and damage the streets at a faster pace? Consider in particular the growth that comes at the behest of RTD with Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the city's already most congested area around I-70 and Wadsworth Bypass.
Once again, Walmart comes to mind. Walmart will generate sales tax revenue to pay for some of the street maintenance, right? Wrong. The city will not be receiving any of the sales tax from Walmart for an estimated 7 to 12 years. In the meantime, it will generate an increase in traffic and the necessity for large delivery trucks which will mean more damage to the streets.