Statement posted on August 13, 2023
The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) has reviewed Resolution 2023-074 submitting a ballot issue question to increase the City’s sales and use tax to support the Our Climate Future, Transit, and Parks and Recreation Plans. We have the following three concerns with the language in the resolution:
- We believe it is important for the City to devote significant funding toward expanding local solar and battery storage capacity, which is part of Big Move 12 in the Our Climate Future Plan. Doing this will both reduce community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy bills. Expansion of local solar and battery capacity should be referenced explicitly in the resolution.
- We believe it is important for the City to devote significant funding toward preparing people, buildings, watersheds, and ecosystems for the threats brought on by climate change, as called for in Big Move 3 of the Our Climate Future Plan. Enhancing climate resilience should also be referenced explicitly in the resolution.
- We believe it is important that programs that will significantly reduce community GHGs and pollution receive their fair share of new tax revenue by 2026, when the City Council has committed to achieving 50% GHG emission reductions compared to 2005 levels. Therefore, we believe that the spending percentages for Parks and Recreation, Climate, and Transit should be reconciled at the end of 2026 in addition to the other years specified in the resolution.
The first concern listed above could be addressed by adding the phrase “expanding the capacity of local solar and battery storage” to the third “whereas” clause after “reducing greenhouse gases and pollution” and to the second bullet of the ballot issue question after “advancing greenhouse gas and air pollution reduction.”
The second concern listed above could be addressed by striking the “and” after “100% renewable energy” and adding the phrase “and preparing for the threats brought on by climate change” after “community-wide carbon neutrality” in both the third “whereas” clause and the second bullet of the ballot issue question.
The third concern listed above could be addressed by adding “2026” before “2030” in the fifth whereas clause and in the second paragraph of the ballot question.
The FCSG supports the even split of funding between climate, transit, and parks and recreation originally suggested by councilmembers during the work session on July 25th. We believe that addressing the funding needs associated with the Our Climate Future and Transit Master Plans are at least as important as those associated with the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Finally, the FCSG remains concerned that the general public is being asked to pay for climate programs via a sales tax increase to mitigate GHG pollution disproportionately caused by big corporations like Broadcom and Anheuser-Busch. We will be tracking those emissions via the EPA FLIGHT website carefully in the coming years. If those corporations do not make good on their promises of substantial reductions in GHG pollution, we will again advocate for a Large GHG Emitter Tax. Additionally, we urge City Council to explore other ways of requiring the largest GHG polluters to mitigate the climate damage they cause, such as through a utility occupation tax or fee targeted toward the community’s largest natural gas users.