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Government Affairs Monthly Report


Steamboat Council Considers November Ballot Proposal for Downtown Improvement District

Steamboat Springs City Council have begun discussions that might lead to a property tax issue on the November ballot to fund the downtown improvement district, which was formed in 2007 but has never been funded after tax proposals failed in 2014 and 2016.

The property tax would be used to fund a wide range of services in the downtown area including increased trash pickup during busy weekends, snow removal on sidewalks and additional lighting.

If placed on the ballot and approved by voters, the proposal divides the district into two zones. The primary zone includes businesses on Lincoln Avenue and Yampa Street and the side streets that run between those streets. For this zone, BID, or business improvement district, funding would support sidewalk snow removal, litter pick up, street sweeping and a more frequent schedule to empty trash receptacles.

The secondary zone includes businesses on Oak Street and the side streets between Lincoln Anevue and Oak Street. These businesses would not receive all the services as the primary zone, but they would benefit from the tax through additional marketing efforts, public art and way-finding signs throughout the district.

Some estimates claim the proposal could raise about $300,000 annually. This funding would be generated from a mill levy based on a property’s assessed value, special assessments on nonprofits and an annual contribution from the city. The city's portion of the funding would compensate for the improvement district taking over some of the services the city is currently providing in the downtown area.

Yampa River Management Plan Released

The City of Steamboat Springs is leading the development of a plan to improve the health and resiliency of the Yampa River during times of drought and in the face of changing future climatic conditions and water use demands. Key objectives of the project are to identify target flows needed to support river health and community needs and to prioritize actions and projects to achieve measurable progress toward these targets.

The plan is based on a comprehensive assessment of river health using best available data and the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders and the community. City staff has engaged an Advisory Committee to guide the plan’s development and hired a team of consultants with expertise in river science and community planning. The project will address the reach of the Yampa River from Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area to the City of Steamboat Springs Waste Water Treatment Facility.
The final version of the health assessment and stream flow management plan can be found here.

President Signs Flood Insurance Extension into Law

NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall released the following statement after last month’s U.S. Senate vote on legislation extending flood insurance funding. The bill, which cleared the House last week, was signed into law by the President soon afterwards.

“We applaud lawmakers for taking this needed action to prevent disruptions to closings in thousands of communities across the country. Although the National Flood Insurance Program will be extended through November 30 when signed into law, the NFIP is in desperate need of reforms that will make it solvent and sustainable in the long term. The National Association of Realtors will continue fighting for these reforms as the next NFIP reauthorization discussions loom later this year.”

REALTORS® had been urging extension of the program for months. More than 129,000 REALTORS®, or roughly 15 percent of the membership of NAR, sent letters to their senators/members of Congress in support of the extension.

For further information on NAR’s efforts to extend and reform the National Flood Insurance Program, please visit this link, or contact Wes Shaw at 202-383-1193 or wshaw@realtors.org

Endangered Species Act Regulatory Reforms Proposed

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have proposed changes to regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act.

This proposal is in alignment with NAR policy related to reducing administrative and regulatory burdens, making regulations more transparent and accountable, shifting more responsibility to state and local governments where appropriate and encouraging private sector engagement to protect species and preserve habitat.

The proposed revisions would:

  • Address use of "occupied" vs. "unoccupied" habitat in designating critical habitat for species
  • Detail circumstances where designation of critical habitat would not be prudent
  • Interpret the phrase "foreseeable future" regarding future threats to imperiled species
  • Ensure that standards used to delist species are consistent with those used for listing decisions

There is a sixty day public comment period in place now on the proposed changes.