Grand Junction looking at sales tax increase, property tax elimination

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) -- The City of Grand Junction is taking steps toward fixing what they believe are some of the public's biggest concerns, but you'll have to foot the bill.

"We just do not have the current revenue stream to pay for the additional firefighters and the additional police officers to really provide the high level of public safety that is expected,” Chief Ken Watkins from the Grand Junction Fire Department, said.

Public safety is one of those top priority items.

It's no secret that the fire department and police department both have needs that can't be met by the current budget. The City now has a plan for that, and that plan looks like a 1.25 percent sales tax increase.

"We will be working on drafting ballot language for our spring municipal election,” Greg Caton, City Manager for the City of Grand Junction, said. “We will bring that back to City Council on January 16 and they will formally address the ballot question for the next municipal election.”

That revenue would fund three fire stations and everything that goes along with those new stations, it would help with the staffing issues at the police department and it would help with infrastructure projects too.

“First and foremost, what people would probably recognize is finishing the loop,” Caton said. “This would make improvements along 24 Road, also 25, F ½ and then also as we kind of come to the northeast part of the loop we've got 29 Road and I-70."

That's not all though. Yes, the sales tax will go up, if Grand Junction votes for it in April, but your property tax will go away in the process too.

"We're not only asking for an additional sales tax, to help these areas where we are struggling to meet services demands, but we are also looking to eliminate the property tax,” Caton said.

The total sales tax increase will be 1.25 percent, bringing the total sales tax for the City to 4 percent. Here's how that breaks down;

-The fire and police needs will be .50 percent of that increase.
-Another .50 percent will be for replacing the money lost from property tax revenue.
-And that last .25 percent will be for those roadway improvements.

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