LOVELAND — The Thompson School District has signed off on an agreement to share new tax revenue with the Centerra South urban-renewal authority, if the city of Loveland creates the new URA.
On a 4-3 vote preceded by multiple speakers voicing concerns with the agreement, the board endorsed the agreement that had been negotiated with developer McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc.
Unlike past URA structures that diverted all incremental increases in property-tax revenue from the school district, Larimer County and special taxing districts, this one at least as it applies to the school district will enable the district to retain virtually all the revenue that it would otherwise be entitled to by the Centerra South property.
As explained by district finance officer Gordon Jones, the district taxes property at a rate of 44.571 mils. The state school finance act amount of 24.36 mils — which rises to 27 mils over the next three years — will be diverted to the proposed URA for use in servicing bonded debt used to construct infrastructure. The difference between 44.571 and 24.36 (the 2022-2023 rate) would be retained by the school district.
Then, the state school finance act backfills the amount that is diverted to the URA, meaning that the district loses none of the incremental income it would otherwise receive from increased property values in the URA.
Opponents of the URA addressed multiple issues that they wanted the school board to consider, among them fracking for oil on the site, declaring the agricultural land blighted, and the potential for clarifying legislation that they said state Sen. Janice Marchman will propose at the Legislature this session.
Among the speakers was Loveland mayor Jackie Marsh, who said she was speaking personally and not as mayor. She said the URA isn’t necessary and that other developments immediately west of the Centerra South property were or are being developed without the benefit of urban-renewal authorities. She asked for either a vote against the proposal or a delay in official action.
While some board members echoed those concerns, the four voting in favor noted that the school district’s role is limited: It doesn’t have a say in creation of a URA, just the tax-sharing arrangement.
“I know where my lane is,” said board member Dawn Kirk. “My concerns mostly fall into areas where we don’t control. Blight, how it’s (the property) developed — those are not our control.”