Dear Councilmembers Francis, Pignataro, Peel, and Ohlson –
The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) has reviewed the agenda materials prepared for the Council Finance Meeting this Thursday, February 2nd. We were shocked to see that Finance Department staff is proposing that tax measures supporting the City’s climate initiatives be delayed to 2025 or 2026.
Staff is proposing that tax measures supporting Parks and Recreation programs, Street Maintenance, and Community Capital Renewal be put before Fort Collins voters in 2023 and 2024. While we recognize the importance of these items, none of them have been declared an emergency. City Council has declared a “Climate Emergency,” however, and it seems to us that that declaration would merit prioritizing tax measures funding “Our Climate Future” programs at least as highly as Parks and Recreation, Streets, and Capital Renewal Projects.
Additionally, City Council recently approved an interim goal of 50% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2026. Waiting until revenue from climate-related taxes starts flowing into the City’s coffers in 2026 or 2027 is too late to have much, if any impact, before the end of 2026.
Since the Council Finance Committee began discussing sources of sustainable funding in late 2021, Finance Department staff has frequently appeared to downplay the importance of funding the City’s climate programs. We believe Finance Department staff needs to receive a clear message from City Council, starting with the four of you, that funding for these programs is among the City’s highest priorities and should be addressed this year, not in 2025 or 2026. We hope that you will deliver that message to them at your meeting on Thursday.
Fort Collins Sustainability Group
P.O. Box 672
Fort Collins, CO 80522
Ph. 970-484-3141 https://focosustainability.org