What the Fact?!

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Fact or Fiction?


In a growing community, information can travel fast – sometimes too fast to be accurate! Have you heard something that made you raise an eyebrow in disbelief? Have you been curious about a Longmont urban myth’s origins? Are you just doing your part to make sure information you pass along is true? Then What the Fact?! is your space to cut through the misconceptions and sort out the facts: what’s real, what’s rumor, and what’s really weird but nonetheless true. Stop on by and find out the latest. We’ll give it to you straight.

To view some questions and answers that were previously submitted to the City by email or through the "Johnnie St. Vrain" newspaper column, see the sidebar. The City has developed this new engagement site to give more transparency by making each question and answer submitted through this platform viewable to the community.



In a growing community, information can travel fast – sometimes too fast to be accurate! Have you heard something that made you raise an eyebrow in disbelief? Have you been curious about a Longmont urban myth’s origins? Are you just doing your part to make sure information you pass along is true? Then What the Fact?! is your space to cut through the misconceptions and sort out the facts: what’s real, what’s rumor, and what’s really weird but nonetheless true. Stop on by and find out the latest. We’ll give it to you straight.

To view some questions and answers that were previously submitted to the City by email or through the "Johnnie St. Vrain" newspaper column, see the sidebar. The City has developed this new engagement site to give more transparency by making each question and answer submitted through this platform viewable to the community.


Submit your question below. We'll review it and respond during normal business hours. Please note that it may take us a few days to track down answers for you!


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    There are children in the creekside neighborhood going door to door letting us know the city plans to demolish the jumps at Left Hand Creek Park next week. Is this true?

    JCameron asked about 2 months ago

    Hello. There are several issues with the jumps at Left Hand Creek Park. Here is some background information. 

    In April of this year, City staff identified a significant amount of social trail development and riparian degradation taking place in the Left Hand Creek Greenway adjacent to Left Hand Creek Park, south of Pike Road. It appears that much of the activity was to create a homegrown BMX-style bicycle course, complete with jumps, mounds and obstacles, tree swings, and more. The excavation and construction of this unofficial bike course has disturbed stream flows, damaged or eliminated native vegetation, and exposed the area to significant erosion. Neighbors and others have described this unofficial course as a source of fun activity for neighborhood youth, which is certainly looks to be. 

    However, the unofficial course is located within a riparian corridor intended to allow urban wildlife to travel, migrate, shelter and find food. Additionally, the course has not been sanctioned by the City, does not take safety into account, and is located on City-owned property that is set aside for the protection of our natural environment. Preserving and protecting riparian habitat has been a priority expressed by City Council for several years. Actions toward achieving this goal have included a recent update of the City’s Wildlife Management Plan, numerous modifications to the City’s Development Code, adoption of the Sustainability Plan, as well as making significant creek restoration efforts through the Resilient St. Vrain Project (RSVP). 

    After the 2013 Flood and additional high flows in 2015, thousands of dollars and many volunteer hours were spent reconstructing the crusher fines trail and installing native shrubs and trees within the Left Hand Creek Riparian Corridor.  None of the plants have survived partially due to the intense bike course development that has taken place along the creek corridor. 

    At the time of the 2015 volunteer project, fencing was installed to protect the bank from further disturbance and erosion, and signs were provided to indicate the importance of this crucial habitat area. These recent activities have disregarded that fencing and signage. Staff recognize the importance of having outdoor activities for our community and especially our youth. We believe this is even more critical now that the Coronavirus has closed schools, put an end to organized school activities, shuttered recreation centers, and day camps are still trying to determine if and how they will provide their services. 

    With that in mind it is important to note that the City has developed bike hills, wheels parks and bike challenge courses throughout the City’s park system. These areas provide for biking activities in safe locations that will not adversely impact riparian areas. One such bike skills course opened this spring at Dickens Farm Nature Area. Others are located at Stephen Day Neighborhood Park and on the site of the future Fox Meadows Neighborhood Park. (In fact, neighborhood youth in the Fox Meadows Neighborhood worked with City staff to design the bike hill area located on the site of the future park, in an area away from riparian corridors and other wildlife habitat areas.) 

    City staff is aware of the community interest in these types of facilities and continues to request funding for development of future sites as well. It is important to plan and design bike facilities appropriately, and in the right locations, so they are sustainable and can be managed to minimize adverse impacts. 

    At this time, staff intends to contact neighborhood groups in an effort to inform and educate them on why this Left Hand Creek Riparian Corridor location is not appropriate for a bike course, as well as provide information on ways to access the other City-developed bike skills areas via the city greenway trail system. 

    Then, City staff will attempt to again restore as much of this area as possible by re-grading the area with more gentle slopes, removing excavated jumps, fencing off areas where social trial development has taken place, and attempting to reseed the area with native grasses and replanting native shrubs.  Unless directed otherwise by the Longmont City Council this work will likely occur later this summer or early in the fall.  Our hope is to reengage with volunteers to assist with the important work of restoring this riparian corridor.  

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    When heading north on Main Street there is a large display sign on the east side of Main prior to the Railroad Tracks that says "Rough RR tracks ahead". Who is responsible for causing the problem, the construction work done at Main Street Staion or the Rail Road? Who is responsible for the repair and why is it not being repaired? This is a serious road problem and affects all vehicles on US Highway 287.

    Very Curious asked 6 months ago

    The problem seen on Main Street just north of 1st Avenue is due to high volumes of traffic crossing an aging and deteriorating railroad crossing. The BNSF Railway is responsible for repair of this crossing. The railroad has tried several attempts at temporary repairs which have deteriorated in a short amount of time. The railroad has agreed to more extensive repairs that will include the removal and replacement of the damaged concrete panel in the northbound traffic lane. The railroad has indicated this work will be completed within the next few weeks.


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    Who got their palms greased to get the area off of Great Western Drive changed from light industrial to multi family construction? The traffic is already bad with poor outlet areas and really jams up our neighborhoods. This is also a heavily wildlife inhabited area including hawks, owls and eagles along with foxes, coyotes, and even turkeys. It is an ideal area for families to enjoy and learn about wildlife, other than the kind that speed around on motorized vehicles. Why do we need to crowd more people on an area that does not allow for good traffic movement and enough schools? We are crowded enough down here.

    Janet and Bob Presley asked 11 months ago

    Over the past several decades there has been considerable interest in the southeast area of Longmont’s Planning Area. Several years ago, the City worked with residents, property owners and other community stakeholders to look at the land uses in this area. In 2014, the Longmont City Council approved an ordinance changing many land uses in this area. Some of those changes included changing previously designated Industrial/Economic Development (I/ED) land to residential land uses.  At the time, staff did evaluate the overall transportation network to ensure there was adequate capacity for these planned uses. In addition, the School District was involved to ensure adequate school capacity remained available, consistent with the terms of our Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the District.
     
    When the Envision Longmont Multimodal & Comprehensive Plan update was approved by Council in 2016, some additional changes were made to the land uses in this area. These were done in consultation with residents, property owners, the District and other community stakeholders, and included a similar high level analysis to what was done with the 2014 (although this time is was more of a citywide analysis, rather than for a single sub area). 

    Subsequent to Envision Longmont being adopted, citywide zoning changes were also approved to better align future land uses and zoning. 

    As specific development applications have been submitted for this area (and for all areas of the City), additional analysis, including traffic studies, habitat and species analysis, and school capacity analysis are included with each development application, as required by code and our IGA with the District. If you have specific questions on what is required as part of the City’s development review process, please feel free to reach out to the Planning & Development Services Department directly. 

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    Given all the news lately about the benefits of planting trees to help manage climate change, does Longmont have a tree planting plan?

    Ives asked 11 months ago

    With development projects tree mitigation can be attained one of two ways. Developers, and/or other city departments if an internal project, can replace tree diameter loses. For every inch of tree diameter lost the project would put in an equal number of diameter inches of newly planted trees back in. As an example: if one 20” tree is removed from a development then the project would need to replace with those lost inches with ten 2” diameter trees. If the site has spacial constraints the development can reimburse the city $200 for each inch of diameter lost. In the example above that would equated to $4,000. There can be a mixed version of the solution as well. The developer, or department, can reimburse funds and plant trees as the site allows.

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    When will Longmont embrace the idea of an equitable transportation system and the idea of vision zero?

    dquince asked 10 months ago

    Dquince: Thanks for your question. Since the incorporation of Longmont in 1871, the citizens and leaders have strived for infrastructure to meet the needs of the traveling public as well as the safety of the residents, workers and visitors to Longmont. The first pictures of an active town in the early 1900’s clearly show a variety of travel choices based on their popularity with the public—horses, carriages, wagons and bicycles.  Of course many folks are also seen walking along the sidewalks, which have always been a key piece of infrastructure as we are (still) all pedestrians at some point of any trip. From the very beginnings of Longmont, the “vision” has been to not have anyone killed or even injured, especially on our streets. That same idea carries on today—the City does and is doing everything within its current resources to minimize injury on our streets and increase the safe use of other means of traveling besides the single-occupant vehicle. This is clearly evident in many of the capital projects over the past 2 decades, beginning with the Saint Vrain Greenway trail system and continuing with the many bicycle/pedestrian underpasses added over the years. Our street standards have changed and will change again by the beginning of next year, to incorporate safer streets with narrower lanes and wider, buffered bike lanes and separated walkways. Envision Longmont was clear that safety was critical to all people, traveling on our streets or otherwise, in our City—stating clearly in one of its goals that the transportation system “offer safe, healthy, and reliable mobility for people of all ages, income levels, and abilities”. Though we sometimes disagree, as 96,000+ residents will do, in how to achieve these goals; we still strive as did the founders of Longmont, to provide a safe, reliable system for all the people who live, work and visit the City.


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    In capital improvements section 3 months ago, a question was asked: "What is happening with Union Reservoir redevelopment?" As of August 1, 2019, there is no update on City Plans site nor response from meetings held months ago. In particular, there was a lot of input never responded to from the attendees. It feels like questions were captured and tossed aside. I hope that's not the case. The issue most important to me is about crossing CLR originally on the plan as an extension of 9th but was cancelled due need for a bridge to cross a stream even the concept plan still shows this access. Bottom line is there is NO SAFE WAY to enter/exit Union Reservoir at 9th, Deerwood or SH 26 via a car.

    LH-QuailCrossingII asked 11 months ago

    Here is an update on Union Reservoir Redevelopment:
    • Currently there is funding for design and construction of the Union Reservoir Trail in the 5-Year CIP.
    • There is also funding for further Design Development of the Master Plan, however implementation of the Master Plan Improvements is not yet funded.
    • There are key issues that need to be explored such as the ultimate Surface Water Elevation of the Reservoir, Camping, the County Road 26 Realignment, Wildlife Issues, and Funding Priorities for Park Development. Exploration of these key issues will guide and shape implementation of the Master Planned Improvements.

    Your main question is about 9th Avenue. The extension of 9th Avenue and connection to WCR 26 is identified on the Roadway Improvement Plan within the Envision Longmont multimodal and comprehensive plan as a long range new road. This project has not been identified in the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

    Design work that will widen and improve WCR 26 from County Line Road to the entrance of Union Reservoir has been completed but construction is not funded in the proposed 2020-2024 CIP. 




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    Are there any plans for providing a Library Annex to service the Northern Section of Longmont?

    stubblefieldr asked about 1 year ago

    A Library Annex question would be included in the bond election question, either as part of a pool and ice facility or connected to another City facility. Options are still under discussion at this time. As always, residents are invited to share their thoughts with Council during any Tuesday City Council session at the Longmont Civic Center!

    UPDATE: The Library Annex question has been dropped from the November 2019 ballot, pending the outcome of a feasibility study regarding a potential library district. That study is slated to be carried out during the Fall/Winter of 2019.

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    How can a person comment about the traffic "bubbles" that exist in East/West travel through Longmont and find out if any will ever be fixed? Definition: A "bubble" is multiple lanes of traffic forced to narrow because one of the lanes ran out. Ironically, most of the bad spots merge incorrectly from right into left rather than left narrowing into right lanes. Many narrow without warning until right upon the lane ending (must turn sign.) My ranking: #1 Worst - Highway 66 - 1-lane, 2 lanes, 3-lanes, 2-lanes, 1-lane (from west -> east starting in 75th to CLR.) #2 Ken Pratt Blvd heading west where traffic is forced from 3 lanes to 2 just past Main/287. #3 Nelson Rd from Hover to 75th. A bunch of new homes, 2 large corporate buildings, 1 high school and only 1 lane in each direction for the majority of the stretch. #4 17th west bound at Hover where 90% of all traffic turns but heading into Hygiene gets cut off. #4 17th tied between going east at Alpine to Pace.

    LH-QuailCrossingII asked 11 months ago

    SH 66 and Ken Pratt are state highways and signs/striping layout are under the purview of the Colorado Department of Transportation. As far as determining which lane ends, either left or right is acceptable and allowable and neither is incorrect. It is more common to drop or merge the right lane.

    We've relayed your concerns about the other areas to our transportation staff, thank you for sharing them with us!







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    How many housing units are currently being built? How does the city and school district plan to adapt to that increase?

    Curtis5249 asked 12 months ago

    The City tracks active developments showing development projects that currently under review by the City of Longmont. Several of these projects include a residential component, but many have not been approved yet or are not yet under construction. You can view the active development log and map to get information about specific projects:  https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-n-z/planning-and-development-services/plans-and-reports/active-development-log-and-map. The first part of the log shows the projects under construction.

    We also track building permit activity monthly, including permits for new housing units. The most recent report can be viewed on the City’s website: https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-n-z/planning-and-development-services/plans-and-reports/historic-building-permit-report. Through May of this year, permits have been issued for 650 new dwelling units.

    The City coordinates with the St. Vrain Valley School District on plans for growth and has two Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) with the District that address how we collaboratively plan for growth. The adequate school capacity IGA outlines requirements for cooperative planning to accommodate new development in the Longmont Planning Area and specifically sets a capacity standard of 125% of permanent capacity for elementary, middle, and high schools. The Fair Contributions IGA outlines requirements for residential developments to provide either cash-in-lieu fees or land for the purpose of meeting the demand for school sites created by new development. The District regularly receives and provides comments on all residential development proposals in Longmont, including impacts to specific schools.






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    If the Aquatics Center is approved what part of Longmont is it going to be located in? North or South?

    stubblefieldr asked about 1 year ago

    Thanks for your interest in a potential aquatics center! A site won't be selected before the 2019 election. If voters approve the construction of the facility, four possible locations would be considered:

    • Montgomery Farms at Highway 66 and County Road
    • Clark Centennial Park
    • Quail Campus, near the Recreation Center
    • Dry Creek Park at Clover Basin and Grandview Meadows Dr.
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    what is the construction at 1405 hover ?

    begalle asked about 1 year ago

    Hi there,

    I've tried to track down this information, but we don't show any active construction projects at that address. Could you provide additional information so we can dig deeper on this one?

    Thanks so much!

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    People chose to buy houses by Longmont's railroad tracks. They're now - SHOCKED - that railroad trains are going on those tracks by their houses and they are making noise. After the warning bells at certain street intersections are silenced, will the complaints stop? How many people are complaining? What happens when someone is hurt or killed at a newly silent intersection - will relatives sue the railroad or will they sue the City of Longmont for removing the warning bells?

    Bob Askey asked about 1 year ago

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for your interest in railroad "Quiet Zones." We welcome your suggestions and feedback. 

    The implementation of “Quiet Zone” improvements at streets which cross railroad track facilities is intended to provide adequate safety improvements so that the train engineers will not need to sound the rather loud horns. The sounding of the horn is required by Federal Railroad Administration rules and has been in place since 2005. The proposed improvements for “Quiet Zones” normally include a series of gates, flashing lights and warning bells which warn crossing motorists and pedestrians of the oncoming train.

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    How many people are employed by the City of Longmont? How many dollars a year is their payroll?

    Bob Askey asked about 1 year ago

    We currently have 928 regular benefited employees in the City. Total annual pay, based on base pay information only is $69,371,163.



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    How many people work for City of Longmont Recreation Department? What is their annual payroll?

    Bob Askey asked about 1 year ago

    We currently have 39 regular benefited Recreation employees. Total annual pay, based on base pay information only is $2,107,764.


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    What is happening with Union Reservoir redevelopment? What is the timeline? Have those bordering the reservoir agreed to allow the redevelopment on their properties? The information about this project on the City's website is out of date (or if it's not, the "summer 2019" benchmarks seem very unrealistic). It would be great if this became a more user-friendly waterfront for a variety of activities (trails, beach, sculling/sailing/SUPing).

    K asked about 1 year ago

    Thanks for your questions and feedback! Design and construction of the Union Reservoir Trail is partially funded in the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Design will begin later this year. Construction of the west section of trail is funded in 2020 and construction of the north and east sections of trail are funded in 2021. The southern section of trail is currently unfunded. The master planned improvements are currently unfunded, however, the City will continue to discuss how implementation of these improvements fit within the City’s priorities. The Union Reservoir Trail and master planned improvements will all be on City-owned and Union Reservoir Company-owned lands. More info on these plans and progress is available here.






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    What's with crews (City or Boulder Creek development crews) digging up the intersection of Hover and 9th Ave every 2 weeks or so, blocking traffic, turns, etc for 12-24 hours at a time? You'd think they would have an algorithm in their construction plan that could install all the necessary connections at once instead of constantly digging and wiring, digging and wiring-- can you explain?

    Porterhouse asked about 1 year ago

    The work taking place at 9th & Hover is concrete panel replacement. This is the last part of  a new Xcel gas main that was installed by directional bore methods last year along Hover and 9th Ave.

    The installation (directional bore) required extensive subsurface utility investigation that left multiple potholes in the concrete street panels. The potholes, along with sizeable bore pits, left the concrete roadway cut up and in very bad shape that ultimately required complete panel replacement. The panel replacements have been taking place the last few weekends to accommodate heavy weekday traffic at this location. There is just one more panel to be completed this coming Saturday 5/11/19, so thanks for your patience!






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    I keep hearing about Longmont ice rink and pool feasibility studies, but am having a hard time finding relevant information. I know many people who travel to neighboring towns for access to activities related to these, but nobody seems to know more than that studies have maybe been carried out? Is there anywhere that has anticipated cost of building as well as running and maintaining a facility housing both an ice rink and a pool in Longmont (along with comparisons of costs of running and maintaining/repairing our current seasonal rink and Centennial Pool)? What were the locations identified as possibly suitable to such a facility? What level of interest is there among our population for these? Thanks!

    Erik asked about 1 year ago

    Hi Erik – great question!  A few years ago, Council asked City staff to do a feasibility study to determine if a competitive pool and ice rink would be financially viable in Longmont (it would cost about $45 million, including operating costs). About the same time, the City completed a recreation master plan, which called for a new rec center as growth continued in our community (each rec center costs about $35 million, including operating costs). Either option would require a tax increase and increased bonding authority, which by law must be approved by voters. I don’t believe that there has been a location chosen, and the decision is independent of getting Centennial pool back up and running. As far as what is the level of interest among our population, Council asked staff to run a poll of electors to determine that answer. The poll ran last week, and asked about whether people would vote for: 1) a competitive pool and ice rink, or 2) two aquatics centers, one competitive and one leisure, or 3) two full recreation centers and finally 4) a library annex attached to any of the above facilities.  Council will receive the results of the poll at their May 7 meeting. I hope that helps!






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    Do you have an estimated time when the S Pratt Parkway bridge project will be completed? It has been going on for quite a while now. thanks!

    lselby asked about 1 year ago

    The South Pratt Parkway Bridge replacement project is a near perfect example of how important timing is on a capital project—and how nature can throw that careful planning right out the window. When construction on the bridge replacement began in January 2018, the new bridge was anticipated to be completed by September of that same year. Heavy storms in May 2018 caused significant work delays. These delays pushed the project into winter months, which further delayed temperature sensitive items such as colored concrete pouring, architectural finishes and asphalt paving.

    The good news is that this project is in the home stretch. Crews will begin final road work on South Pratt Parkway Bridge the week of April 29. Installing waterproofing materials, smoothing the transitions between old asphalt and new concrete, and then applying a final asphalt layer over the roadway are all expected to take place that week.

    After that week or so of paving, all lanes will be fully open to traffic, and dedicated sidewalks and bicycle lanes on each side of the bridge will be open to pedestrians and bicyclists.

    More information about the South Pratt Bridge replacement project, including photos taken during the project, is available on the project webpage


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    When will the public recreation area along the St. Vrain river by Martin St.finally be finished? What kind of functions will be served by this area? We've been waiting a long time for this project to be completed.

    AKH asked over 1 year ago

    The Dickens Farm Nature Area is a 52-acre site located between Main and Martin Streets along the St. Vrain Creek. All in-creek work and St. Vrain Greenway trail restoration through the nature area was completed in summer 2018 as part of work on the Resilient St. Vrain project. Construction is anticipated to start in May 2019 and continue throughout the summer to build a nature discovery area, bike skills area, picnic shelters, parking lot and restrooms. (Occasional, brief trail closures may be expected during the construction, but at least one trail route through the nature area is planned to remain open for users.) Once work is complete, visitors to the area can enjoy the creek environment. Read more about what to expect at Dickens Farm NA in this post on the Building a Resilient St. Vrain blog.

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    What is the city planning to do to stop drag racing on 21st st. Now that is warm kids are out playing and accessing the parks on 21st. People frequently speed on 21st between Gay and Francis making it dangerous, loud and impacts the peaceful enjoyment of our homes and yards.

    Jlehner21 asked about 1 year ago

    The Longmont Police Department actively works with residents to ensure traffic safety in all neighborhoods. The department assembles detailed tracking of the areas in which additional patrols have been assigned, and we take every complaint seriously while providing resources for over 340 miles of roadway (and we understand residents aren’t always aware of our 24/7 efforts to reduce speed and increase safety in our community!).

    If you have a reoccurring traffic problem in your neighborhood that you feel needs attention, please contact the Traffic Unit at (303) 651- 8849 and/or complete the traffic complaint form at longmontcolorado.gov (use the search tool for “file a police report.”) You will find that we ask for your contact information as well as specifics regarding your concerns. This allows us to follow up with you and ask additional questions if needed.

    If your concern involves physical changes (signage, posted speed limit signs, speed bumps, etc.) we recommend that you also contact a city traffic engineer at (303) 651-8737. This group of employees provides oversight for street design as well as the management of traffic volume and the speed at which vehicles move throughout town.


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    Over the past 5 years, thousands of living units have been constructed in Longmont creating tens if not hundreds of million of dollars in increased property valuation. Why has the City not passed on, via lower property taxes and fees, this windfall in property tax revenue?

    mike asked about 1 year ago

    Property tax is a key source of revenue in the City’s General Fund, and it primarily funds services such as Police, Fire, the Library, Senior Services and Youth Services. Most of these services generate little to no revenue and thus are funded by taxes. Property tax is cyclical and goes through significant peaks and valleys due to changes in property values. Often, the costs of City services do not follow those same trends. In 2008 Longmont property tax revenue was $14.27 million. In 2018 it was $18.67 million. That’s an increase of almost 31% or 3.1% per year. But the property tax revenue in 2014 was only $13.79 million, which was a decline from 2008. When property tax showed no growth or declined over six years the City did not raise property taxes. Instead, it made service reductions or deferred maintenance. With the property tax experiencing strong growth since 2014 the City has been able to address those deferred maintenance issues and make some increases to service levels. Over $1 million annually is going toward funding affordable housing that was not being funded through 2014. The growth in population also increases demand for services. The City strives to ensure that most of the City budget is directed to services and programs that are a high priority for the community.







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    Thanks for the new website! How can I found out specifics on development in Longmont? What is going on on Pike Rd and Hover? I heard there was to be apartments, townhouses, a pond and dog park. Would like to understand current plan and timeline please. This is my neighborhood.

    ACEagle asked about 1 year ago

    The best resource for people interested in development around the city is the Active Development Log & Map on the city’s website. The map is a great tool allowing residents to zoom into all active projects around the city, find out what stage the project is in, and whom to contact with questions. Anyone who does not have access to our website can call Planning at 303-651-8330 and speak with the Planner on Duty or the Project Planner to get their questions answered.







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    I hear that the City government is preparing to close up shop and sell all of it's assets to Google. Will that bring and end to snow plowing, electricity and fireworks?

    Bob asked over 1 year ago

    Hi Bob, and thanks for the April 1st Google giggle! We weren't fooled, but we are working hard to keep those roads cleared and power flowing. And you can help make sure Longmont gets a great show on the 4th of July by donating to the Kiwanis fireworks fundraiser at www.skylinekiwanis.org!