Open Space Ballot Measure
Windsor’s Open Space and Trails team is responsible for the acquisition, stewardship, and maintenance of trails and open spaces. In November 2022, Windsor voters approved a 0.25% open space sales tax increase.
What is the language used on the ballot?
Shall Town of Windsor taxes be increased by $1.62 million annually beginning in tax collection year 2023, and by whatever amounts that may be generated thereafter, by increasing the town sales and use tax rate by 0.25% (2.5 cents on a ten-dollar purchase) from the current rate of 3.95% to a new rate of 4.2% on January 1, 2023, with tax revenue to be used for the creation of a dedicated funding source for open space land acquisition, stewardship, operation and maintenance that will:
Purchase and maintain open space from willing landowners that achieves the following:
- ensuring acquired open space land will remain undeveloped and lessen the impact of residential housing growth, thereby reducing community impacts such as traffic, the cost of maintaining roads, sewer, stormwater and acquiring and treating water
- enable the town to develop and maintain open space that will increase public recreation opportunities
- obtain, manage and preserve working farms and community separators that will keep Windsor unique from neighboring cities and towns
- promote and perpetuate open space that conserves valuable wildlife habitats, protects the environment and creates green spaces and waterfront access to lakes, streams, and the Cache la Poudre River
All revenue from this tax constituting a voter-approved revenue change notwithstanding any revenue or expenditure limitations contained in Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado constitution?
Did you gather input from residents? What were the results?
During the Summer of 2019 through the Spring of 2020, Windsor's Parks, Recreation & Culture staff worked with a team of parks and recreation consultants to research and collect input from residents and stakeholders to help develop a Strategic Plan. In the plan, staff and residents identified opportunities within the Open Space area.
In 2021, additional public input was collected and a detailed Open Space & Trails Strategic Plan was developed. Windsor’s Town Board adopted the plan in March 2022.
In July of 2022, the Town of Windsor conducted a survey that was distributed to a randomized group of registered voters to obtain a sampling of whether the Windsor community would support funding initiatives identified in the Open Space & Trails Strategic Plan. Surveys were collected online and by phone. In the results, 64% of voters said they would support a sales tax to fund Open Space land acquisition. The survey results were presented to staff in early August.
Following its review of the survey results, the Town Board referred a 0.25% open space sales tax increase to the November 2022 ballot.
What is the difference between a property tax and a sales tax?
Sales tax is a one-time tax that is collected at the point of sale. Property tax is an annual tax that is assessed on property owned by an individual or other legal entity.
By what means does the Town of Windsor currently acquire open space?
Windsor currently relies on private residential and commercial development dedicating portions of their land to the town as trails and open space. The tax revenue will provide a dedicated source of funding to purchase open space lands.
How much land could the sales tax help acquire?
At a current estimated cost of $19,000/acre, the Open Space program could acquire about 85 acres of open space per year. The Open Space & Trails Strategic Plan recommended the preservation of approximately 1300 acres.