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Occupational Tax TABOR Ballot Issue – “For” and “Against” Statements

The following Occupational Tax TABOR ballot language was adopted by the Board of Trustees (BOT) on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

SHALL THE TOWN OF NEDERLAND’S TAXES BE INCREASED $85,000 (FIRST FULL YEAR FISCAL INCREASE) ANNUALLY, COMMENCING ON JULY 1, 2020, AND BY WHATEVER ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS ARE RAISED ANNUALLY IN EACH SUBSEQUENT YEAR, BY LEVY OF AN OCCUPATION TAX TO BE PAID BY EVERY PERSON OR BUSINESS THAT FURNISHES SHORT-TERM LODGING (LESS THAN THIRTY (30) CONSECUTIVE DAYS), IN THE AMOUNT OF TWO DOLLARS ($2.00) PER DAY PER OCCUPIED BEDROOM OR PER OTHER ACCOMMODATION WITHOUT DEFINED BEDROOMS, WITH PROCEEDS TO BE USED FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT SERVICES AND SHALL ALL REVENUES DERIVED FROM SUCH OCCUPATION TAX BE COLLECTED AND SPENT AS A VOTER-APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY REVENUE OR EXPENDITURE LIMITATIONS CONTAINED IN ARTICLE X, SECTION 20, OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION, SECTION 29-1-301, COLORADO REVISED STATUTES, OR ANY OTHER LAW?

The following “for” and “against” statements for the Occupational Tax were submitted prior to the February 21, 2020 deadline. Only the statements that were filed by persons eligible to vote in the Town of Nederland were summarized for the TABOR ballot notice (C.R.S. 1-7-901(2)). Below are the statements received from both individuals registered in Nederland and those who are not.

STATEMENTS “FOR” THE ISSUE:

  • The Peak to Peak Housing and Human Services Alliance is a gathering of representatives of human service organizations serving the Peak to Peak area of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, coming together to identify needs, expand and enhance services to the residents of the Peak to Peak community, and promote inter-agency communication.  As Chair of the Peak to Peak Housing and Human Services Alliance I am writing to support the  occupational tax for short term lodging. These tax dollars will be used to improve the health and human  services of the Nederland Community by, for example, improving the availability of basic services such  as food, clothing, health care, housing, and transportation. Thus helping to ensure that Nederland is a sustainable community that meets the needs of all our residents while maintaining Nederland’s special,  unique and loved culture.  – Dennis Whalen
  • Voting YES on this issue will provide financial support to the Nederland Police Department.  The funds could be used to provide more competitive wages and benefits for police officers.  Funds could also be used to replace vehicles in the Police Department’s aging and heavily used fleet. – Karen Blakemore
  • This is not a tax on residents, but on visitors who stay overnight in lodges or other short term rentals.  Visitors will be charged $2 per night for each bedroom.  Proceeds from this tax will be used exclusively for Health, Human Services and Law Enforcement. – Karen Blakemore
  • As an STR host and guest, I am in favor of the proposed Occupancy aka Lodging Tax. Under no conditions have I questioned or decided against lodging somewhere because of an Occupancy tax. The Lodging tax is the only one that goes directly to the city or town, and the proposed Nederland tax is fair in comparisons. This proposed Lodging Tax will greatly benefit the ability of Nederland to repair, maintain, and develop a sustainable public works infrastructure; provide for the recruitment, ongoing training, and retention of police officers available to meet our safety needs; and, as a community, to offer help to our less fortunate vulnerable residents in times of need. I’ve witnessed the impact on Nederland, especially as a recreational destination area for people from all over, in the 40 years I’ve been here. And, the impact continues in a way that is, and has been for a long time, unsustainable to negative affecting town infrastructure, and quality of life for residents.  – Atashnaa Medicineshield Werner
  • I am writing to express my support for the Town of Nederland’s Occupational Tax.  As our population ages and the needs of our community  grow, it is imperative that our residents are able to access a range of health and human services including transportation, health care, senior services and other support services.  The occupational tax will help fund some of those much needed services,  and show other funders (and collaborators)  that the Town of Nederland is committed to supporting vulnerable members of  our community.  – Kristi Venditti
  • Health and Human Services are becoming increasingly important for mountain residents due to economic and population changes in the area. We live in an area with little choice for health care and are located far away from the centers of county and state assistance programs. A Nederland Occupational Tax would be essential in increasing access to health and human services for people of all income levels in Nederland. Supporting the Occupational Tax could increase Nederland resident accessibility to physical and mental health options, as well as addiction treatment and counseling. It would also aid in making assistance for income challenged families more available. Other programs that would benefit would be transportation options, support for Seniors and people with disabilities and educational programs. Population and economic diversity in Nederland is dependent on providing positive, easy to access, assistance to vulnerable populations. – Anonymous
  • The cost of housing in Nederland is increasing. The short term rental market contributes to the high cost of living and a growing number of individuals and families rely on social support systems, like the food pantry. Every other town in Boulder County allocates a small percent of its annual budget to health and human services. The growing number of tourists visiting and staying in Nederland creates an increased demand on all of our infrastructure and services. The police department included. Nederland officers are often over extended and they are paid less than law enforcement in neighboring communities. For example, Nederland’s base pay for a new officer is $50,000 annually. Whereas, the City of Blackhawk posted a hiring salary range of $65,042 to $97,882 and the City of Boulder $62,898 – $89,622 annually. Supporting the Occupation tax will allow Nederland to: 1) Commit to supporting health and human services in our community; and 2) Improve our ability to retain law enforcement officers -by potentially offering more equitable pay with our neighboring communities. – Julie Gustafson

STATEMENTS “AGAINST” THE ISSUE:

  • 1) Tabor was created to put a limit to government waste and out of control spending. 2) Revenues from this tax cannot be used to monitor the licensees, nor does it provide anything in the way of guarantees that the present inept BOT will use the funds except to pay more for the same unmaintained streets and sidewalks than we already do, and probably to foot the bill for the utilities for Boulder County Housing residents. 3) Calculations for the amount of the tax are unrealistic and not grounded in hard data. 4) The BOT has refused to even discuss the alternative ideas for the use of the tax. – Mary Jarril
  • Since I attended the meeting where what the tax money collected would be spent on, I dispute the following language in the ballot question as much too vague as to where the $85,000 (or more) would be spent. “WITH PROCEEDS TO BE USED FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT SERVICES”. What “health and human service programs”? What “activities”? and what “Law Enforcement services”? (handling LTR house explosions?) I also dispute the inflated amount being represented to voters -I’m not sure if the inflated amount is supposed to get voters attention because it seems more significant or less significant, but I protest the amount represented to be wildly inaccurate on the inflated side of what reality will be. The BoT packet confirms the inflated estimations.  At the Jan 21st 2020 meeting the board was all over the place on where to spend the money-(after years of independently thinking about it outside of meetings, they independently had nothing prepared). And the Mayor more closely calculated that the total tax (including the 34 STR’s that were confirmed PRIOR the BoT passing the over-regulation on them, essentially shutting them down) could amount to less than 1/2 of $85,000-if my memory serves me, he calculated under $30,000-and that was NOT considering that most of the whole house rentals would no longer exists after passage/enforcement of Ordinance 798 (and now passage of Ordinance 804). In reality, the tax collected will be more in the $5K-15K realm and that is prior the town subtracting $6K to a national company to track STR’s.  So I dispute the huge, INTENTIONAL mis-representation in how much money there will be for vague “HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT SERVICES” I think this rush to pass this language in April has allot to do with making it look like the BoT is accomplishing ‘something’ on behalf of anti-STR residents, after spending 5 years ‘talking’ about their opinions of STR’s, while ignoring the actual economic/law enforcement data. The Bot has no idea if ANYONE is going to sign up for their, new, limited STR permits!  I would think the first thing would have been to confirm how many STR’s will even exist after passage of 798, then do the real/actual math as to how much money the town could receive (not inflated like it is) IF it was taxed.  Then the ballot language should specify that the tax will FIRST ($6K in 2020) go to a (non-local) company to regulate the STR’s under the BoT language and then IF any ‘profit’ after that- ask the residents/voters where they want it spent, instead of telling them or being vague. Otherwise, the $6K for STR enforcement will be coming from ALL Nederland property tax payer’s and not STR’s paying for STR regulation, like it should be, imo.  I’m pretty sure the town meant to have the STR tax pay for the STR regulation and not just be extra ‘fluff’ money for vague “HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT SERVICES”. Voters deserve better, imo! –  Kathleen Chippi (Also Submitted by Karen Cobble)

TABOR BALLOT NOTICE

The TABOR Ballot Notice that will be mailed to each address with one or more active, registered voters by March 9, 2020.