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Proposed scientific and cultural tax district seeks signatures to get on Nov. ballot

July, 07 2016 | Local News

By Surveyor Staff

A proposed special taxing district is looking for signatures to get an initiative on the November ballot. The proposed initiative seeks to raise funds for local nonprofits.

The proposed Scientific and Cultural Facilities District is a ballot initiative that is now collecting signatures to be placed on the Nov. 8 ballot. If the initiative receives enough support through signatures and gets on the November ballot, it would have to then be passed by voters to take effect. If approved by the voters it would mean a sales tax of one-tenth of one percent on purchases excluding groceries and prescriptions. The tax is 1 cent collected for $10 spent and is estimated to create a fund of $6.6 million for 2017. It would sunset in 10 years with the option to be renewed by a public vote. The funds would support current and future Larimer County nonprofits through two funds: A Sustainability Fund where all eligible organizations, regardless of size, receive a predetermined percentage of their qualifying revenue (all would receive the same percentage); or an Innovation Fund where funds would be awarded based upon competitive grants addressing innovation, collaboration, and regional initiatives.

Most nonprofits in Larimer County do not receive funding from the towns, cities or the county where they are located, so they struggle to offer science and cultural programs that the general public and students would appreciate. Larimer County is following on the very successful program that several Denver area counties’ voters put in place in the 1980s and have renewed every decade because of its value.

The proposed Larimer Scientific and Cultural Facilities District would benefit Larimer County nonprofits, including local nonprofits like the Berthoud Historical Society, Berthoud Arts and Humanities Alliance, Wildfire Arts Center, the Little Thompson Observatory and others providing programs for visual and performing arts, cultural and natural history, and natural and physical sciences.

Local organizations such as the Berthoud Historical Society would potentially receive up to 25 percent of their annual revenues to aid their operational needs, which could provide for longer visiting hours or expanded programs. Other nonprofits will be eligible as well, but the impact to local organizations and their programs would directly benefit Berthoud.

Deadline for signatures is July 16. Those interested in signing the petitions can do so at the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce, located at 428 Mountain Avenue, or at the Little Thompson Valley Pioneer Museum, located at 228 Mountain Avenue.

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