, 61 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
New topic, new thread: A proposed vehicle registration fee and a tax on natural gas use. LOTS of data to come on this.

The tax would have to be put on the ballot; the fee would not.
I'm hearing from council that pro-muni folks are NOT in support of the tax bc it might confuse ppl.
The vehicle fee would go to a variety of efforts to get ppl to drive less, to promote electric vehicles and technologies, etc. to reduce emissions from gas vehicles.
The natural gas tax would go toward electrifying buildings, increase solar + storage, reduce energy use of buildings and explore new technologies
In public engagement so far, 64% support a vehicle climate fee
70% support a natural gas tax

There are concerns, however...
The vehicle fee can only be applied to vehicles registered in the city, so it doesn't hit in-commuters. But, staff says, since much of the $$ would go to alternative transit options, it is likely to have a positive impact.
"It's unlikely to change behavior," says Kimberlee Rankin, sustainability coordinator.
Another issue with the fee is that it doesn't address how much (or little) people drive, although staff is suggesting that those who drive less than 2K miles a year would get a 50% discount.
Average vehicle would pay $42/yr. (The fee is actually tied to MPG of the car, so this is highly variable, and of course, council has the option to implement a higher or lower fee).
Some members of the public have given feedback that the fee is unfair bc it doesn't apply to electric vehicles, which are more likely to be owned by rich ppl.

About 5% of new vehicle purchases locally are electric.
Morzel asking about older vehicles which she thinks get cheaper as they age, even though they emit more. "It seems like system is set up to incentivize an old car."

I pay a $7 "age of vehicle" fee every time I re-up my registration, on a 2002 Toyota Corolla that gets like 30 mpg. Think of all the energy I'm saving by not buying a new car.
Young asks if this fee would be regressive, bc ppl with older cars generally have them bc they're more affordable.
No, Tupper says: a 13 yo Honda Civic has better MPG than a new truck. "It doesn't degrade MPG over time."
Carlisle: The older cars aren't costing what it takes in energy to build a new car.
That was the point of the equity group, Tupper said. And why the city will also be looking into ways to improve emissions on existing cars rather than encouraging ppl to buy new cars.
Morzel is bringing up animal husbandry for some reason... ?
"It somehow needs to be calculated and we need to start talking about it, bc I think it's an uncomfortable topic for some pp."

Who doesn't love to talk about animals fucking? I know I do.
I think her point is that we should be talking about food consumption/production in relation to emissions (it's a big deal, part of why I'm mostly vegetarian) as well as transportation emissions.
Fees have to be tied directly to cause-and-effect. So all the $$ from this fee will have to go to transportation and efforts that will directly result in lower emissions. Food choice is on the radar, Kendra Tupper says, but not right now.
OK, let's get back to the fee and away from animal husbandry.

Several discounts have been suggested, including for ppl who have no "clean" option for the vehicles they need (trash trucks, etc.)
Staff is still exploring how those rebates would be administered. Since the county will be collecting it, lots of logistics and challenges arise. Plus, issuing rebates can be prohibitively expensive.
As such, the city/county is looking into a "rebate portal" that would list *all* the available local rebates based on financial hardship, across departments, programs, etc.
! from Brockett: Do you think the way it’s structured it would encourage ppl at all into higher MPG vehicles?
Tupper: No. Unless you set it at $256 a year, it’s not high enough to change behavior. Plus, it’s applied at the time of registration, not when they purchase the car.
A tax is more to drive behavior; a fee is to recover the cost.
RE: the rebate portal: "I wouldn't confine it to lower income" ppl, Morzel says. There are many rebates that exist that aren't just for lower-income ppl.
Jones asks a q on that: Is the portal something that will go forward no matter what we do with the vehicle fee?
Tupper: We'd like it to. Everyone we've talked to is on board with the concept.
"I would recommend pursuing whether these go forward or not."
Jones: I think it addresses any of the affordability concerns we hear any time we pursue a fee or tax. It's worthwhile to explore; I betcha if we figure it out, a lot of other cities would be interested.
Rest of council is agreeing with that.
Weaver is breaking in to say it should be handled by the city manager's office in partnership with the county, not the sustainability office.

Council did an informal "nod of five" to direct staff to explore the portal idea.
Jones doesn't quite support the vehicle fee. (I'm pretty sure.) Thinks a VMT tax/fee would be better (vehicle miles traveled).
Weaver kinda agrees: "I don't think we should pursue this right now."
Ditto Morzel. "While I think the polling was very high, we have the muni coming up;" we just had the CAP (Climate Action Plan) tax in 2015, muni in 2017, etc.
Brockett: The fact there's no incentive to change behavior is why he won't support the vehicle fee.
Yates: "It's just going to annoy ppl and not achieve much."
Yates: I think this would be seen by most ppl as an annoyance. "It really wouldn't do anything meaningful for our transportation needs" but it's "big enough that we have some equity problems."
Rather than "grabbing" for cash, Carlisle says, we could do some management policies to hit the in-commuters. Doesn't say what, but references Palo Alto.
Young: It (the vehicle fee) still has a way to go. I think we can take lessons from this and apply it to future efforts.
Nagle agrees with Carlisle, wants to "address" in-commuting.
Shifting to the natural gas tax. Morzel and Yates have already said they won't support putting this on the ballot.
Something I didn't know is that Colorado has some of the lowest natural gas prices in the U.S. 45th of 50.
Tupper: "There's little incentive to electrify buildings or reduce natural gas use."
Depending on where the rate would be set, a typical single-family home would pay $16-$65 a year.
There would be a lower rate for non-residential users, bc they use so much more natural gas that the tax would "significantly impact" costs of running a business.
Whereas staff did not make a recommendation on the vehicle fee, they are recommending that this natural gas tax be added to the 2019 ballot.
I've lost the thread of what council is talking about now. I *think* the estimated cost to fully electrify a single-family home, eliminating natural gas altogether. I *think* they said $15K is what it would cost. Yikes.
Tupper: The cost do to electric homes and buildings is 200% higher in here than in Asia, where they've had electric heat pumps for ages.
Ductless air conditioning, is what those are called. They replace window AC units, Tupper says.
An exemption from the natural gas tax is also proposed for financial hardship. It will be easier than with the vehicle fee, bc Xcel's system flags low-income customers, so it could be discounted upfront, not done as a rebate.
But "we'd still want to offer" a rebate for ppl who don't get caught in Xcel's screening, Tupper says.
Staff is recommending a one-year implementation timeline, bc it will take that long to get it in place with Xcel, natural gas suppliers, etc.
ALSO suggesting that the CAP tax not sunset.
Weaver is on a tangent that is equally impressive and boring.
Jones: There's a lot that's laudable about this approach; the issue is timing.
Tupper: We've talked about that internally. As a department, we feel this natural gas tax is necessary to meet our climate goals whether we municipalize or not. We certainly understand there is the danger of having too many of these stacked together (votes on the muni plus this).
The muni is supposed to get a go/no-go vote in 2020. Although that is looking less and less likely.
Some ppl say.
To explain, the natural gas tax would be folded into the CAP tax, which applies only to electricity.
That may explain nothing. I'll do better in my story (hopefully).
Weaver: I'm in favor of this in general, but timing is a concern.
Has some concerns about the different rates for homes and businesses. " I think there’s an equity issue there."
"On the whole I don’t think I should support it this year."
Carlisle and Morzel don't want to pursue either.
Nagle gives a thumbs up to the rest of council: She does not want to pursue the tax.
Brockett *would* move forward but "it sounds like it's not the will of council."
"Sounds like we'll take another crack at this in another year, or two or three."
He and Young both thinks it needs to go further on equity.
"It needs to not be an afterthought; it needs to be front and center," Young says.
OK, both of these ideas are dead in the water. On to the next.

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