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Archive for the ‘Fees on Open Space’ Category

My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Oct. 17, 2009, in response to the Camera’s question: The Boulder City Council and the Open Space and Mountain Parks Board of Trustees are discussing how to set priorities and continue to fund open space purchases. Among the suggestions for creating more revenue to fund remaining purchases is to begin charging a fee for non-Boulder County residents who use certain city-owned trails. What do you think of the suggestion?

Boulder has a huge appetite for open space, which isn’t a bad thing if it can afford it. The problem is Boulder doesn’t seem to want more residents, just more money to pay for another 5,800 acres to add to its already 45,000 acres. Therefore, it becomes quite appealing that non-residents pay for open space use. This way Boulder’s friends, neighbors, former residents and visitors will fill the city’s coffers for open space purchases while its limited-growth or no-growth population pays only sales tax on food and retail purchases as its contribution. The idea is not fair as there is no credit to those who have already paid taxes in Boulder, and it likely will have negative consequences.

Government is great at changing behaviors by adding fees and taxes. Take taxes on tobacco products, alcohol and the current attempt to tax sodas and sugary drinks. These taxes are designed to discourage use as they bring in revenue. A user fee for non-residents will have the same effect on young people attempting to establish healthy outdoor habits and older people wanting to maintain what they’ve started.

The words “open space” suggest space is open to all, not free from humans. If the latter is the definition Boulder City Council ultimately goes with, one dear friend who raised her family in Boulder and moved to Broomfield will be one of many not able to afford the fee, a fee with the same effect as a tax on cigarettes.


Source: Daily Camera


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