January 4, 2023
Polis Seeking More Property Tax Relief In Latest Budget Proposal
Governor Jared Polis announced updates to his state budget proposal Tuesday in response to the most recent economic forecast done in December. Polis is asking lawmakers for another $200 million for property tax relief that will go along with the $700 million lawmakers passed last year. The Governor said he wants to spread the $200 million over the next two years.
Polis said skyrocketing property valuations are leading to unaffordable property tax increases for homeowners and the most recent economic forecasts show the residential assessed values will increase by over 26% for the next property valuation cycle.
Among other proposal changes, the Governor is also asking lawmakers for $120 million in clean energy tax credits, $70 million towards job training, and $10.5 million for employer-based childcare to enable more parents to be in the workforce.
According to the Denver Post, Polis trimmed his overall budget request by $100 million from $42.7 billion, while leaving the $16.7 billion general fund untouched.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife To Hold Public Hearings On Wolf Reintroduction Plan
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division will hold five public hearings throughout Colorado this month and the next as part of its plan to reintroduce gray wolves to the Western Slope by the end of 2023. State wildlife officials released a draft plan in December outlining an approach for meeting the requirements of a rewilding initiative approved by Colorado voters in 2020.
Under the draft plan, state wildlife officials will reintroduce 10 to 15 wolves per year in Colorado during the next three to five years, with an aim to stabilize a population of at least 50.
The draft plan identifies a northern and southern zone in the western slope as the best locations for winter release of wolves captured from wild populations in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The wolves would wear GPS collars as tracking devices.
The draft plan also includes measures to compensate ranchers for potential livestock losses, which include a maximum of $8,000 per animal. Ranching groups say many horses and livestock are much more valuable than that amount.
In addition to public hearings over two months, the public may also provide feedback online until February 22nd.
Boulder Police Seeking Public Help In Locating Stolen Artwork
Boulder police are asking for the public’s help in locating five pieces of high-end artwork stolen from a truck last month.
Personnel from the company assigned to transport the pieces from Los Angeles to locations in Colorado and New Mexico spent the night at a hotel at the 5300 block of South Boulder Road near Highway 36 on the evening of Dec. 14. They reported finding the truck’s padlock cut and several pieces of artwork and tools missing the next morning.
According to Boulder Police, the value of the stolen artwork is more than $400,000.
Colorado Assisting Migrants Reach Their Desired Destinations
Governor Jared Polis said in a new release Tuesday that 70% of the migrants who have arrived in Denver in recent weeks are not seeking to make Colorado their final destination but have encountered travel problems due to transportation cancellations. The Governor said the state in partnership with Denver and nonprofit organizations is working with culturally competent navigators so each individual can reach their final destination and easily connect with family members, friends, and other services.
The Governor’s statements come as other states and cities saying they cannot meet the demand along with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock repeating the call for federal support and coordination. Hancock said in a written statement on Tuesday that nearly twice as many migrants are arriving in Denver as are leaving on a daily basis, with about 1,800 needing overnight shelter.
According to the Denver Post, migrants are also making their way to other parts of the state. In late December, the Larimer County Commissioners rejected a state request to shelter up to 100 migrants, citing logistical, legal, and financial issues preventing the county from providing temporary shelter. In their letter to the Governor, the Larimer County Commissioners called on Polis to declare a state of emergency and develop a statewide coordinated plan, especially as his office requests help from other parts of the state.
Denver Replacing Larimer Street Bridge Between LoDo And Auraria Campus
Denver officials announced Tuesday that the city will replace the 64-year-old Larimer Street bridge. The new bridge, that goes over Cherry Creek between 14th Street and Speer Boulevard,
will have only one travel lane for vehicles and more space for bikes and pedestrians including a two-way protected bikeway, 12-foot wide sidewalks, pedestrian lighting, more seating options, public art, and trees.
Denver voters approved a bond in 2017 that funds the $7 million bridge project. City officials say the new structure will be completed in the fall and will provide better mobility options for those who travel between downtown Denver and the Auraria campus.