While I puzzle on Yates' recusal, we're moving on to the public hearing for the CCS tax extension (being rebranded to the capital infrastructure tax). Staff presentation: documents.bouldercolorado.gov/WebLink/DocVie…
We've covered this so thoroughly, I don't wanna repeat too much.

Council discussed on:
Feb. 9
(Preview story for that meeting) boulderbeat.news/2021/05/22/bou…
CCS initially passed in 2014, then extended in 2017.
A 15-year extension is being recommended
90% ($180M) for capital infrastructure projects, and 10% ($20M) for community nonprofits
The ballot will also have a $110M bonding measure on it, so the city can do some debt financing, getting the $$ upfront that will then be paid back with the $$ from the sales tax extension. This will let them start big projects.
A list of initial projects will be in the ballot language, as well as categories for future projects
The city has more than $300M ($312M, actually) in unfunded capital needs. Some 47 projects. All are "important" or "essential" according to the city's new(ish) rating system for such thing.
Initial projects all polled pretty well in a recent community survey, which also found really high support for the tax extension overall.

As I reported earlier this year, Boulderites haven't turned down a local tax in 11 years. boulderbeat.news/2020/12/17/bou…
The last rejected one was for affordable housing, which is definitely not biting us in the ass now.*

*This is sarcasm
RE: that, there's this: A federal report which found that a $100 increase in median monthly rent corresponds with a 9% increase in homelessness. gao.gov/products/gao-2…
Speaking of unhoused folks, staff and council went over one of the projects: Civic Area 2.0. The first phase was redoing the areas right by the library, to take what was essentially a grassy field and putting in a bridge, trees, landscaping, new playground, etc.
It's quite lovely (one of my fave places in Boulder) but with ugly motivation: To keep unhoused folks from gathering there.

The East Bookend (near the bandshell) will undergo a similar treatment. I'm sure it's not related at all, but that's where unhoused folks hang out now.
But, to be clear, changing the East Bookend was always part of the plan. It's an expensive project (Phase 1 cost ~$10M) so it was broken in two.
What, exactly, they're doing with it is TBD. From staff notes, the plan is to “modify and/or enhance the park areas and hardscapes” to “create a large gathering space with important connections to the adjacent transit options, creek path, restaurants and businesses”
and “better connections to and through the site to link various key destinations through path connectivity and visibility, public plazas for events and better circulation through the site. This translates into enhanced park amenities, pathways, open promenades along 13th Street
... and Canyon Blvd., increased visibility and safety of the area and functional space layout.”
Phase 1 of the Civic Area redesign was paid for by the original CCS tax, too. It also funded a bunch of city and nonprofit projects, like the Arapahoe/13th underpass, Dairy Arts Center renovation, Museum of Boulder relocation/expansion, etc.
You can find a complete list (and more info about this tax) here: bouldercolorado.gov/projects/commu…
Young asking what types of things the nonprofit portion could pay for. Capital projects, staff says, not operating or program expenses.
Brockett: What if a nonprofit needed $$ to *plan* for a capital project? Could it pay for that?
Yes, tax specialist Joel Wagner says, that would qualify.
The issue with this in the past is that only larger nonprofits really benefitted, bc they had the staff, time and budgets to plan and undertake big projects. So smaller orgs got left out.
Public hearing is now open. Still no idea if/where the city is posting the list of speakers, like they used to. So we're winging it here.
Sue Prant from Community Cycles: Orgs should raise their own $$ for planning. But if you do allow that, please "make it very small" so enough $$ is left over for capital projects.
Also wants more details on possible future projects, but overall "a big thumbs up for this," especially the 10% reserved for nonprofits.
Jan Burton, a board member of Create Boulder (repping arts/culture orgs): Removing the word 'culture' from the tax's name "sends the message that arts and culture are not important."
Asks that a bigger share be given to nonprofits: 15% or 20% (which the last one was). Or have city staff support arts/culture orgs in developing proposals and projects.
"You are missing a huge and important sector when you don't attend to arts and culture," Daniel Sher says.
Also asks for 'culture' to be put back in the tax title and for a greater share of funds.
Deborah Malden, also of Create Boulder, asks for the same things.
I kinda wish they'd also offer some suggestions of what capital projects Boulder *shouldn't* do in order to fund more arts/culture. This tax won't even pay for all of our unfunded needs!
A lot of it (road paving, bridge replacements, etc.) are essential. But maybe some of them aren't super necessary, even if they would be nice.
But just being like, 'Give us more money' without any acknowledgement of the city's financial situation is, to me, not it.
"The arts community is not just artists. It's civic leaders, businesses, members of the media," says Nick Forster of E-Town.
Speaking of media... Fran Zankowski, publisher of Boulder Weekly, is here saying the paper may be reluctant to endorse this measure. "We find ourselves seriously conflicted" bc of the "radical reduction" of arts/culture funding.
Calls it a "bait and switch."

"This seems to be incompatible with the original spirit of the tax," Zankowski says.
Cindy Sepucha: The city of Boulder funds arts and culture at a fraction of the amount our peer cities do across the country. Despite its high concentration of arts/culture orgs and people.
omg Chip from Downtown Boulder makes a joke about Young's cow finger puppet by saying hello to "cow-ncil members"
He's arguing for the Pearl Street Mall refresh and the Civic Area 2.0 projects on the short list for funding, which are exactly the two things I felt were, like, not all that essential.

Would it be nice? Yeah. Do we absolutely need it? Meh.
Chip offering a fair counter point: They have great rates of return.

As do arts/culture overall. They generate lots of revenue when compared to investment in them, a report found in recent (ish) years.
Justin Veach of Boulder County Arts Alliance asking for all the same things as other orgs: Keep 'culture' in the name, give us 20% for arts and culture spending
That's it for the public hearing. Back to council for discussion.
Joseph: I thought we were putting the word 'culture' back in the tax name?
NRV: "Council can absolutely place that back in if that is the desire."
Joseph: I do support re-instating culture, based on everything I've heard from the speakers.

We also discussed increasing the amount arts/culture gets to 12% or 15%
Brockett echoes both those ideas.
"We've heard some really compelling testimony."
Young: Did the voters of the original tax or first extension, did they vote on a specific % for arts/culture? Are we required to keep the same allocations?
CFO Cheryl Pattelli: We did not specify a specific % in the original ballot language. We did, however, include specific projects.
Ditto for the 2017 renewal
Attorney Kathy Haddock: We have to keep the same or related purposes (capital projects) for extensions, but we aren't tied to specific allocations.
Friend also wants to put the word 'culture' back in the tax title. And give arts/culture more $$: the full 20%

"My understanding is we get a 2-to-1 return," she says. "I'm hoping the infrastructure cavalry will arrive from the federal gov't."
Wallach: There was no intent in naming the tax "to cut out" the arts community, "or to offend them." So he's cool with it.
But not on board on upping the amount for arts and culture. "It's time for us to be serious about meeting our infrastructure needs," Wallach says.
"The numbers are approx $295M," he says. "I usually lop $100M off, bc there are some projects that are aspirational. That leaves us with $195M in projects that we don't have funding for. That list is likely to grow over time; it's certainly not going to shrink."
Wallach: "We're simply not responding to the deficit in funding."
Straw poll: Council in favor of changing the tax title to "Community, Culture, Resilience and Safety Tax"
We're gonna do straw polls on dif shares of $$ for arts/culture, starting from the top.
20% and 15%: Brockett, Joseph, Friend
Swetlik joins in at 12%

But that's still only 4 votes. Weaver, Young, Wallach, Yates, Nagle want 10%, so that's where it will stay.
So the arts folks get a name, but no more cash. I mean, still *some* cash ($20M over 15 years) but not as much as they want.
Unanimous council vote puts this on the ballot. Story coming soon(ish) from Boulder Beat. Whenever I get my voter guide together.
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More from @shayshinecastle

4 Aug
Moving on: When will council ever be back for in-person meetings? It was supposed to be July 13, but there were technical difficulties.

Those are fixed, so here we are.
But, as NRV says, now we've got rising COVID cases and new CDC recommendations. boulderbeat.news/2021/07/28/cov…
"My position on coming back ... has evolved as we've seen some of these changes in the COVID variant rise," NRV says.
Read 25 tweets
4 Aug
Next item: Update on The People's Crossing (which was recently renamed) and a land acknowledgement. documents.bouldercolorado.gov/WebLink/DocVie…
Or you can read this to catch up: boulderbeat.news/2021/05/28/bou…
Not much to say on the renaming, other than it's officially been done on the city website and with temporary signs installed.

Permanent signs to be installed in September at event for fifth anniversary of indigenous people’s day
Cost: $21,300 to replace all those
Read 21 tweets
4 Aug
We're talking about another city ballot item, to make the charter consistent RE: rules on referendum petitions. Presentation here: documents.bouldercolorado.gov/WebLink/DocVie…
We haven't talked about this at all, so it took me by surprise.

"It wasn't part of our original planning," attorney Kathy Haddock says. It was "a good catch by a citizen." (She doesn't say who, but I've got a few guesses)
In a nutshell, a city working group recommended lower signature limits for (some) petitions. The voters then OK'd those in 2018. But the charter hasn't been updated for everything yet.
Read 24 tweets
4 Aug
Council is doing a special meeting before its study session next week (Aug. 10) so they can schedule the CU South annexation public hearing.

But we'll talk about that later. Put a pin in it.
Yates is recusing himself from voting on the consent agenda (of which this item is a part). He doesn't say why....
Ok that's literally the only thing on the consent agenda. No idea why he is recusing himself. Anyone want to enlighten me?
Read 11 tweets
4 Aug
Yates reading "the declaration of support for constructive community engagement" around the Boulder Rez.

Council talked about this July 20. threadreaderapp.com/thread/1417696…
It's a rare bit of pushback against neighborhood opposition to city projects or private development, which is... not rare.
The city council is "incredibly proud" of the new visitor center, including the restaurant, Yates reads. "The city council supports the democratic process through which the lease" with the restaurant operator was established.
Read 13 tweets
4 Aug
OK, ready for this 7 p.m. city council meeting? Yeah, me neither.

Tonight we've got public hearings on all the stuff council is sending to the ballot: tax extension plus some language cleanup and a change in council pay schedule (not a raise)*
*Except for people who miss a lot of meetings
We've also got an update on The People's Crossing and a city land acknowledgement for/with the peoples who originally inhabited this land.
Read 12 tweets

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