August 08, 2007

Hickenlooper Wants Taxpayers To Open Wallets Yet Again

The face that launched a 1000 tax increases and bond measures. (Esquire)

This is getting old:
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper made a rare appearance at Monday's City Council meeting to pitch his infrastructure bond package.

After making a few language changes, the council voted on first reading to place the eight questions on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The council also scheduled a one-hour public hearing for Aug. 13, which is when the proposal is up for a final vote.

The proposal calls for two property tax increases.

One is a 2.5 mill levy bump that would generate $27 million annually to pay for ongoing maintenance of the city's aging assets such as streets and park irrigation systems.

The other is a 20-year, $550 million bond issue to pay for deferred maintenance, "critical" projects and new buildings.

The mill levy is one question and the $550 million worth of projects make up the other seven.
Hopefully Slickenlooper's headshot taken while wearing a "two-button wool suit by Emporio Armani ($1,275); a cotton shirt by Dolce & Gabbana ($575) and a silk tie by Prada ($160)" will help persuade Denver voters to pass yet more tax increases. (he did not keep the outfit) As the "best-dressed" mayor in America, how could they refuse?

More details on Hickenlooper's proposed bond package:
Voters will consider eight separate questions. If all are approved, the owner of a home valued at $255,000 would pay $61.66 more in property taxes annually. The Denver City Council will consider the mayor's proposal on first reading tonight.

• Question 1: Tax increase

Would increase property taxes and generate $27 million annually to pay for ongoing maintenance.

• Question 2: Refurbishing buildings

The city wants to spend $70.1 million to improve buildings, from replacing windows to remodeling rest-rooms.

• Question 3: Health and human services

Hickenlooper's proposal calls for $48.6 million for such projects as $3.5 million to expand the Westwood Child Development Center.

• Question 4: Parks and recreation centers

This measure calls for $93.4 million for such projects as completing the restoration of the Greek Amphitheatre in Civic Center.

• Question 5: Public safety

A new police crime lab and a new fire station in the Lowry neighborhood are among the $65.2 million worth of projects in this category.

• Question 6: Streets, transportation and public works

Voters would be asked to approve $149.8 million for street improvements and other public works projects.

• Question 7: Libraries

The mayor is proposing to spend $51.9 million to build three new libraries and to maintain and upgrade other library buildings.

• Question 8: Cultural facilities

The Boettcher Concert Hall and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science would get a combined $70 million for renovations and other construction projects.
There is concern that due to Denver's bond cap at $480 million, that the remaining projects will trigger a property tax increase (the remaining $70 million), and the 8 proposals are now jockeying for position so that they won't be voted down in an attempt to avoid the tax hike.

Face The State has a rundown on the 14 increases since 2003 brought by Hizzoner, and the real consequences of yet more bonding--bigger increases in the future.

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