Metro board on road to sales tax
Pueblo West voters will be able to weigh in on the metro district’s first sales tax question May 6 that is designed to generate funds to repair aging roadways.
The Pueblo West Metropolitan District Board on Tuesday directed attorney Thomas Mullans to finalize a resolution for consideration at the Jan. 28 meeting. All five board members agreed they want a sales tax question on the ballot.
The proposal will call for a 1 percent sales tax that will generate an estimated $900,000 annually Jan. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2020. Funds would be dedicated to street improvements and maintenance and could not be used to replace general fund dollars.
Pueblo West resident Richard Clark is pushing for the ballot issue and gave detailed statistics to the board Tuesday. He said the district has 245 miles of roads, 161 of which are paved, 57 are chip sealed and 128 miles are gravel.
“You paid for an independent study in 2012 and the Matrix study recommended $40 million in needed roadway improvements. That’s a big target, a big number,” Clark said.
Board President Christine McCarthy said the magnitude of needed repairs is “mind boggling.”
Director of Public Works Dan Centa told the board it is far cheaper to chip seal a road at $20,000 a mile than it is to rebuild one at $120,000 per mile.
“A 1 percent sales tax is aggressive but a good compromise. It can be sold (to the voters),” Clark said.
Exempt from the tax would be groceries, prescriptions and gasoline. “However, marijuana is taxable,” Clark said.
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor told the board that he does not agree: “With the direction this county has gone with (marijuana) shops,” but said there has not been a whole lot of outcry from citizens or other agencies opposing the recreational marijuana sale regulations.
The sales tax also would be paid by boater traffic coming through to access Lake Pueblo. One local liquor store is 10th in the state in beer sales, so such sales would help bolster the sales tax revenue for roads, Clark said.