Message from Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy:
WHAT TAXES WILL FUND THE 2024 BUDGET
(Assessed Value, Property Tax vs. Sales Tax)
You are probably still wondering whether Boulder County’s budget will be going up at the same rate as your assessed value. The answer is an unequivocal no! State law prohibits us from increasing the amount of our budget that is funded by general property taxes by more than 5.5% per year. To stay within that limit, we will probably have to decrease the county’s portion of your mill levy.
Remember, Boulder County only receives about 25% of your total tax bill. Our overall budget may increase by more than 5.5% because many of our programs and services are funded by dedicated sales taxes, including the open space sales tax and recently approved sales taxes for wildfire mitigation and emergency rescue services.
ASSISTANCE TO FAMLIES BELOW POVERTY LEVEL
I am excited that my fellow commissioners support my proposal to provide basic cash assistance in the amount of $300/month to families with young children who are at or below 125% of the federal poverty level. We will begin piloting this assistance using federal ARPA funds next summer. While we haven’t identified a funding source to continue the program once ARPA funds have been depleted, I am hopeful that we will do that.
Ample research demonstrates the value of unrestricted cash, particularly for families with young children, in keeping people housed, paying for child care, preventing hunger and maintaining employment. In many instances, it is enough to lift families out of poverty. Creating a program to provide this cash assistance has been a dream of mine since before I ran for county commissioner.
HOMELESS ASSISTANCE & PREVENTION
Addressing the growth in the population of unhoused people in Boulder County has been top of mind for the past several years. People ask what Boulder County is doing to address the issue. We provide over $1 million directly to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and are increasing that amount in 2024 by $750,000. Boulder County provides funds EFAA, Sister Carmen, OUR Center, Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN), TGTHR (formerly Attention Homes), Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley, and the Inn Between of Longmont for housing stabilization and supportive housing programs.
Through our systems partnership called Homeless Solutions for Boulder County (HSBC) we work with the city of Boulder, Longmont, nonprofits working to impact homelessness and other partners to provide supportive and housing services to assist people in moving from homelessness into housing. Although it may at times seem like we aren’t making progress, the 2021 Annual Report on the HSBC link shows that 292 people successfully exited homelessness in 2021. While there is much more work to be done, it is important to know that we are making progress.
Preventing homelessness is the most cost-effective approach. To that end, Boulder County funds the nonprofits listed above to provide emergency rent assistance and supportive services. We want to increase the supply of affordable housing and increase the funds available for rental assistance and supportive services. That is why we are asking voters to approve the continuation of an existing 0.185% sales tax and repurpose it for affordable and attainable housing.
Information about County Issue 1B can be found here. I hope you will vote yes for housing and to extend the open space sales tax through County Issue 1A.