An informational meeting hosted by the City of Delta last week was attended largely by members of the citizen financial task force and Delta City Council, all of whom have been involved in the development of the ballot questions that were the focus of the meeting.
City manager Justin Clifton opened the session by outlining first the question removing TABOR restrictions, then the question about the recreation center sales tax.
He explained how TABOR restrictions have ratcheted down with the economy. At this point, there is no danger of exceeding the caps that are in place, but as the economy recovers the city may have to refund, as one example, building permit fees and other revenues that are the means for providing correlating services.
The more controversial of the two questions involves the recreation center sales tax. One penny of the city’s three-cent sales tax is devoted to that one program, Clifton said. The two left over cover everything else. If approved, the penny would be combined with general fund revenue to fund parks, recreation and the golf course, with the possibility of reducing costs overall. Several questioned why the city doesn’t just sell or close the golf course, since it’s such a financial drain. Clifton said the city would still have to pay off the debt. Instead, council has directed staff to run the golf course as efficiently as possible. Even if the ballot question passes, and funding shifts from utilities to sales tax, the expectation remains the same — to make Devil’s Thumb more self-reliant.