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File #: ORD 2016-020    Version: Name:
Type: Ordinance Status: Passed
File created: 7/25/2016 In control: Town Council
On agenda: 8/16/2016 Final action: 8/16/2016
Title: Ordinance Submitting to the Electorate at the Regular Election on November 8, 2016 the Question of Authorizing the Retention and Expenditure of 2015 Excess TABOR Revenues for Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Transportation Purposes (Second Reading)
Attachments: 1. Ordinance - 2nd Reading, 2. 07-19-2016 Agenda Memo, 3. Ordinance - 1st Reading, 4. 06-21-2016 Agenda item, 5. TABOR FAQ

To:                     Honorable Mayor and Members of Town Council


From:                     David L. Corliss, Town Manager



Ordinance Submitting to the Electorate at the Regular Election on November 8, 2016 the Question of Authorizing the Retention and Expenditure of 2015 Excess TABOR Revenues for Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Transportation Purposes (Second Reading)




Town Council approved the Ordinance, as Amended, on First Reading on August 2, 2016 by a vote of 4-2.  Town Council amended the Ordinance as follows:


Council removed from the ordinance the references to parks, recreation, trails and open space purposes. The title has been updated accordingly, and a revised ordinance is attached. Additionally, a new attachment has been added to this memo, providing additional information regarding the required TABOR notice.


Town Council in 2014 directed staff to manage Town finances to keep revenues within Colorado Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) limits to the extent possible. Staff has done so since that time; yet, the Town ended 2015 with a TABOR surplus of $714,580.


Because 2015 revenues exceeded TABOR limits, Town Council has until the end of 2016 to either: 1) Refund the surplus, or 2) Ask voters to keep the money to spend on local services.


Town Council discussed these options May 3 and June 21. On the latter date, Council directed staff to send the matter to a public vote.


Council discussed potential ballot questions on July 19 (Attachment B) and directed staff to create two draft ordinances for Council to consider- one focused on retaining the TABOR surplus for use toward long-term water needs, and the other for police, fire, EMS, transportation and Parks and Recreation purposes. Council approved an amended version of the latter ordinance on August 2, which is presented tonight for second reading (Attachment A).




Due to favorable economic conditions and increased Town revenue, the Town exceeded its TABOR revenue cap for 2015 by $714,580. Various factors contributed to the surplus, including strong sales tax growth and contributions for the construction of the North Meadows Extension and Philip S. Miller Park. In fairness to the budget process, it’s important to disclose that all eligible revenue received during 2015 ultimately contributed to the TABOR surplus.


After discussing the surplus, Council on June 21 (Attachment C) voted to send the matter to a public vote. State law requires the Town to resolve the surplus by the end of 2016, meaning the only possible time to conduct an election regarding the 2015 TABOR surplus is as part of the General Election in November.


All questions appearing on the November 8 ballot must be certified no later than September 9 to Douglas County, which will conduct the election on the Town’s behalf. Ballot language must be set by ordinance - a process that usually requires two readings. In order to meet the timeframes needed to place a TABOR question on the November ballot, Council would need to adopt the ordinance setting the ballot question on second and final reading no later than its September 6 meeting.


Council is not limited to the alternative in the ordinance - the options for projects and services on which Council could choose to focus the TABOR ballot question are as endless as the Town’s lists of projects and services, and even beyond. It’s important to note that some options could present interesting political issues, as staff ultimately would recommend finding the resources to fund meritorious projects, even if a ballot question on use of the TABOR surplus toward such a project failed.


Public Communication


With all TABOR elections, State law requires that a notice of the election be mailed at least 30 days before the election. It must include the election date, hours, ballot title, text and local election address and telephone number. Further details on this required notice are in Attachment D. The Town will prepare this information and supply it to the County to create the TABOR notice, as the election will be a coordinated election conducted by the County on the Town’s behalf. Staff does not yet have a cost estimate associated with the County’s production of this required TABOR notice, which will be mailed to voters in early October.


Council provided direction on August 2 that no additional public communications are desired, beyond the required TABOR notice.


Financial Information


There are costs associated with holding a TABOR election - for mailing ballots to the two districts that would not have otherwise received one, as well as for the required TABOR notice. Estimates for these costs are not available at this time.


Proposed Motion


“I move to approve on second reading an Ordinance submitting to the electorate at the Regular Election on November 8, 2016 the question of authorizing the retention and expenditure of 2015 excess TABOR revenues for police, fire, emergency medical services and transportation purposes.”




Attachment A:  Ordinance

Attachment B:  July 19, 2016 Agenda Item

Attachment C:  June 21, 2016 Agenda Item

Attachment D:  FAQ: TABOR Elections