Boulder City Councilmembers voted 7-2 on Thursday, Aug. 3, to give initial approval to a .15% sales tax reauthorization ballot measure that would dedicate half the revenue to the city’s general fund and the other half to arts and cultural programs.

The tax, last approved by voters in 2003, is expected to generate about $7.24 million in 2024, according to city officials.

The measure is intended to be a compromise with the arts community, which, earlier this year, petitioned for a ballot measure that would reauthorize the tax and dedicate 100% of the revenue to the arts.

With the approval of the compromise measure, councilmembers are now expecting members of the arts community to withdraw their petition.

“The idea we would be adversarial going for these dollars sets the wrong tone,” Nick Forster, the founder of eTown, an event venue and multimedia production organization, told councilmembers on Thursday. “I’m taking a leap of faith.” Forster is one of the petitioners seeking additional arts funding.

Councilmembers Nicole Speer and Mark Wallach voted against the compromise measure. Both want to put competing measures on the ballot.

“Let’s let the voters take the wheel,” Speer said. “I don’t want to take this vote and decision from our community.”

On Aug. 17, councilmembers will make their final decision on which ballot measure to place on the ballot. They will still have the option to pursue a measure that reauthorizes the sales tax and allocates all the revenue for general purposes.

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