Larimer County Commissioners sunset courthouse sales tax early

The Board of Larimer County Commissioners voted April 24 to sunset a .2 percent courthouse sales tax effective July 1, six months before the normal sunset.

The sales tax was approved by voters in 1997, to begin January 1, 1998 and last 15 years to build, renovate, and expand the Justice Center and Courthouses Offices Buildings in Fort Collins, partner on the Civic Center parking structure in Fort Collins, construct and equipping the Sheriff’s Administration building, partner on the Police and Courts building in Loveland and renovate the County Offices building in Loveland.

This dedicated sales tax can only be used on projects approved by voters, so even with deep budget cuts looming for Larimer County, this funding cannot be used elsewhere.

The Board of County Commissioners ended the tax early because all of the projects approved by the voters have now been funded and most have been completed. The County saved money by refinancing the debt for the projects at a lower interest rate and sales tax revenues were greater than initially projected. The tax could only be used for capital construction. Still, ending a tax early is unusual says Commissioner Steve Johnson, “This is the first time in my two decades of public service I’ve seen government end a tax early.”

With the change, effective July 1, the Larimer County Sales Tax will be reduced from 0.8 percent to 0.6 percent. The last day of collections for Larimer County vendors at the 0.8 percent rate will be June 30. The sales tax was due to expire on December 31, 2012. Larimer County has collected over $97 million for the projects since the beginning of the Courthouse Sales Tax.

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