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Citizen board recommends sales tax ballot measure

Post Date:05/28/2019 7:32 PM

Contact: Tom Hacker, 962-2302 

Members of the Citizen Task Force convened to evaluate a potential sales tax increase to fund a slate of public safety, streets, recreation and cultural projects will recommend that City Council place the measure on the November 2019 general election ballot.

Eighteen members of the group on Monday night examined the results of two public opinion surveys showing strong support for the proposal throughout Loveland. After discussing the results, the group reached consensus that they will take their recommendation to City Council members at a study session on May 28.

Favorable views of raising sales-and-use tax extend across nearly all demographic groups, political affiliations and geographies in the city, the surveys indicate.

The proposed package of projects under the “Your City, Your Future” Community Improvement Program includes work to improve traffic flow on East Eisenhower Boulevard and on Taft Avenue, rebuilding one Loveland fire station and remodeling another, and building underpasses to improve public trail safety. Also included are a new recreation center, a branch library and expansion of the museum.

A direct-mail survey that went to 37,858 Loveland households in late March drew 5,617 responses, a rate of just under 15 percent. The responses show 71 percent of the sample say they would either definitely or probably vote yes on the sales tax question that could appear on the November 2019 general election ballot.

A more scientific and statistically reliable poll taken by phone April 6-10 showed that 59 percent of the 300 registered voters polled would probably or definitely vote yes on a half-cent sales tax. That share rose to 65 percent when respondents were told the annual cost would be less than $31 for the average Loveland household. 

“There is significant support for a ballot measure to help fund major investments that contribute to maintaining quality of life and safety in Loveland,” said Lori Weigel, principal of NewBridge Strategy, the Arvada-based opinion research firm that conducted the phone survey.

Among the findings from the telephone survey, with a 5.66 percent margin of error, were:

• Support for the sales tax increase is greatest in southwest Loveland’s Ward 3, where 71 percent of respondents reported their yes votes were definite or probable. Majorities in all four City wards favor the tax increase.
• The city’s newest residents, living in Loveland five years or less, are strongest supporters with 75 percent indicating definite or probable yes votes. By contrast, 55 percent of residents who have lived in Loveland more than 15 years would support the measure.
• 72 percent of all respondents said the city was “going in the right direction,” with 86 percent of newcomers holding that favorable opinion.
• Majorities across all political affiliations were optimistic, with 87 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of unaffiliated voters and 63 percent of Republicans saying the city was on the right track.

Respondents to the 15-question survey were also asked to prioritize the project list, and indicated strongest support for public safety and street projects.

Members of the sample also evaluated arguments for and against the tax proposal. Among the most convincing arguments in favor, according to 72 percent of respondents, were that visitors pay about half the city’s sales tax, and that Loveland’s sales tax rate, among the region’s lowest, would remain competitive with a half-cent increase.

Complete survey findings are available on the Your City Your Future webpages as well as comprehensive information on proposed projects and costs of each, a history of the sales tax initiative and a schedule of public meetings and community open houses.

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