Error in Ballot Language Causes Confusion for City of Longmont, Co Voters

Despite error, taxes collected to build a proposed pool and ice rink facility in Longmont would amount to 1.8 cents for every $10 purchase

Post Date:10/16/2019 4:48 PM Credit: City of Longmont, Co

An error has been found in the wording of Longmont Ballot Issue 3B – Pool and Ice Rink Facility – that appears on voting ballots, and it is causing confusion for voters. However, it will not change the proposed tax rate increase.

The discrepancy can be found in the example section of the ballot language used to illustrate the proposed tax increase. The words used to describe the numeric tax increase were wrong. Instead of “an increase of one and eight one hundredth cents on each ten dollar purchase,” the language in the example should read, “an increase of one and eight tenths cents on each ten dollar purchase.” 

The Times-Call brought the mistaken language to the City’s attention after it printed an error in the weekend Boulder County Voter Guide. To their credit, the Times-Call is working with City staff to correct the information online and in print.

In addition, the City of Longmont will be using its communication channels – including social media – to provide the correct information to the community.

The correct tax rate is listed four times in the ballot text, and the mistake in wording appears once. Therefore, the numeric representation is correct and is legally binding (the tax rate would increase from 3.53% to 3.71%). The words are an example (illustrative) and will not be codified if the issue passes. 

To be clear, the proposed tax increase for the pool and ice rink facility is as follows:

Current tax rate                                         3.53%

Proposed tax rate                                      3.71%

Proposed tax increase                              0.18%

Proposed reduction when debt is paid off 0.15%

Proposed cost after debt                           0.03%

Examples of Dollar PurchasesExample Purchase 1Example Purchase 2Example Purchase 3
Purchase example $10.00 $100.00 $1,000.00
With Debt $0.018 $0.18 $1.80
Without Debt in 20 Years $0.003 $0.03 $0.30

In other words, on a $10 purchase, the tax would be 1.8 cents, or just less than 2 cents until the debt is paid in full.

To see the entire ballot language visit  LongmontColorado.gov/election.

Arguments For and Against Ballot Issue 3B

Those in favor

  • Longmont’s population has more than doubled since the development of the last competitive pool facility 40 years ago. The existing pool can no longer sustain the levels of programming and competition to meet the needs of the community today.
  • The construction of a new facility with multi-use competitive pool, leisure pool, ice rink, and fitness area can help meet the current demands and future needs of city residents seeking and maintaining a healthy
  • A new facility would give access to residents who have no local access to year-round facilities for ice hockey, ice skating, and instructional ice programs.

Those opposed believe:

  • Construction of this project and payment of debt requires a sales tax increase. The City should find a different way to fund this type of project.
  • The ice rink and competition aspects of this facility serve limited community interests. Longmont needs more facilities that can meet a wider range of recreational needs of its residents.
  • User fees and charges will not be sufficient to cover the operation and maintenance costs for this facility and will require 0.03% of the sales tax to remain in place indefinitely.

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