The Durango City Council reviews Lodgers Tax refund ideas and mulls ballot language for a possible tax question on the November ballot. Fort Lewis College receives a substantial grant that will cover four scholarships every year for the next 10 years, and the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally returns. This story is sponsored by Tafoya, Barrett & Associates and the law firm of Downs, McDonough, Cowan and Foley
How would you like a parking holiday in downtown Durango for eight months or a $100 credit on your city utility bill? You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Tafoya Barrett and Associates and the law firms of Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley. I'm Hannah Robertson. The Durango City Council continues to mull over options to deal with lodgers tax revenues that exceed limits imposed by the TABOR Amendment. Better known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, TABOR requires any ballot language for a proposed tax increase to include a limit on the total amount of revenues that the new tax would generate. When voters approved a 3.25 increase in the largest tax in spring 2021, the ballot question set a conservative limit at $900,000 for 2021. But a post-COVID rebound in tourism in summer 2021 generated nearly $1.6 million in revenues, about $700,000 more than the TABOR limit. A similar excess is expected by the end of 2022. Now the city council must determine whether to refund the revenues to taxpayers or ask voters to keep the excess. At a work session in July, city staff presented council members with several refund options that ranged from offering a city utility bill credit to direct payments to all registered voters. Other options with city council considered are a mill levy reduction on city property taxes, providing free transit services or offering a parking meter holiday for eight months. All of the options have challenges to execute, staff noted. The city will continue its deliberations at a regular council meeting on August 2nd. To learn more, visit durangogov.org. Fort Lewis College is one of five post-secondary institutions in Colorado to receive a ten year $1 million grant to fund scholarships. The Colorado Housing Finance Authority will pay for four $2,500 scholarships each year for the next ten years as part of its new Building the Future Scholarship fund. The Finance Authority provides loans and grants to invest in affordable housing and community development projects to boost home ownership and build and preserve affordable rental housing in Colorado. In a news release, CHFA executive director, Cris White, said the organization started the scholarship program to provide equitable access to higher education, noting that a college degree breaks down barriers and opens doors to stability and prosperity. To learn more about the scholarship, contact the college's financial aid page through fortlewis.edu. Get ready for the throaty rumble of motorcycles, both big and small, with the return of the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally on Labor Day weekend. Events will be spread out between the Harley-Davidson dealership in Durango, on Main Avenue in Durango, in Silverton, and at the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio. Events include bike shows, organized tours around Southwest Colorado, demo rides in Durango and Ignacio, a flat track race at the fairgrounds, hill climb races at Purgatory, a rally parade, Sunday morning, and a street party, Sunday afternoon. On the lighter side, you can watch or enter an arm wrestling contest, a bikini bike washing contest, a motorcycle stunt competition and loudest pipes contest. Does the bike or the babe wear the bikini? Interested? Visit fourcornersmotorcyclerally.com. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Roundup. I'm Hannah Robertson.