Taxes Just Part of Debate in Vote for New County

Article excerpt

BROOMFIELD -- This city's Pinocchio wish to become real may come true in November if voters across the state give it the go-ahead to form its very own county.

That would mean no more living in Jefferson, Adams, Weld and Boulder counties, which could alleviate the burden on services from those counties and possibly lower property taxes for people in the new county.

It has been estimated Broomfield's mill levy rate would be about one mill lower than Boulder County's current rate of 21.243 mills, reducing property taxes for residents and businesses, says Larry Cooper, co-chair of citizens for Better Local Government, a well-funded force fighting in support of the county amendment.

The low tax incentives could make a proposed Broomfield County's business sector all the more attractive. A yes-vote also would allow the new county to absorb Boulder County's mighty Interlocken business park and the soon-to-be-built FlatIron Crossing shopping mall, which would bring considerable sales tax to the new county.

For the businesses that support this county effort, are taxes the only incentive on their minds? Cooper says no.

"I don't think they're in for the money," he said. "Cohesiveness is better."

Currently in Broomfield, if residents need a driver's license, a court document or anything processed by a county, they could end up driving from downtown Broomfield all the way to Golden (county seat of Jefferson County) or Greeley (county seat of Weld County), depending on where they live in the city. And that takes extra time.

"The city as a whole feels like an orphan," said Michael Burns, vice president of human resources at Hunter Douglas Window Fashions Inc. in Broomfield. "The real issue is the municipality having to deal with four different counties. I see a lot of value in streamlining their need."

Burns doesn't see any property tax relief for Hunter Douglas in the new county, however. With four buildings on its property already and thoughts of building a fifth, the company stands to pay a hefty tax.

Are all the centralized services realistic? Some Boulder County officials say maybe, but it's too soon to tell. …