Earlier this year, city residents gathered enough signatures to place a measure on the November 2023 ballot that would reauthorize a .15% sales tax, which expires at the end of 2024 — and dedicate 100% of the revenue to arts programs and grants to local nonprofits.
The tax is expected to generate $7.25 million in revenue next year, according to city officials.
City of Boulder officials and Boulder City Councilmembers, however, want to reauthorize the tax for more general purposes. Historically, it has been used for a broad range of programs, such as for fire, police and human services.
In recent weeks, several councilmembers spoke with the organizers backing the Arts for Boulder measure in an effort to strike a compromise and avoid having two competing measures on the November ballot.
In light of those conversations, a majority of councilmembers on Thursday, July 13, requested that city staff draft a potential ballot measure that would split the revenue from the sales tax. Half would go to the arts. The other half would go to more general city needs, such as emergency response, public safety and homelessness services.
The discussion comes after the city commissioned a survey to gauge which issues are most important to voters. Housing affordability, homelessness, and public safety were among the most important, according to the poll conducted by California-based Probolsky Research. Arts was not listed as a common response to the open-ended question. The firm surveyed 400 likely voters through phone calls, emails and text messages.