The only issue on the ballot in Lyons is Ordinance 871, which seeks to raise the sales and use tax from 3 percent to 3.75 percent. Lyons faces a double economic shortfall with the general economic woes and a slowdown in revenue from building permits as new construction declines.
The lack of new building permits alone has cost the town $300,000 this year, and through this tax increase, the town hopes to raise an estimated $200,000. Proponents say the money is necessary to avoid any further tapping of the town’s rainy-day cash reserves and to maintain the status quo as far as the town’s day-to-day operations go. The additional tax revenue would go into the town’s general fund. Proponents also note that the $200,000 would come not just from Lyons residents, but also out of the pockets of tourists and visitors from the surrounding areas. Opponents of the ordinance have lodged two notes of opposition with the town. One worried that the sales tax increase would put Lyons’ total tax rate at 8.5 percent, slightly higher than those of Boulder and Longmont, which might put Lyons at a competitive disadvantage as far as attracting customers to its commercial areas. Another complained that the Board of Trustees has done little to curb municipal spending during the economic downturn. Finance Director Janice Saeger notes that the town has cut expenditures by 16 percent since 2005.
Lyons doesn’t have a lot of options. It’s not known as a big shopping destination, so the impact on local business in terms of lost sales to other municipalities is likely to be miniscule. But the losses to the city will be enormous if the tax doesn’t pass. Vote YES on Lyons Ordinance