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Are We Helping the Wealthy Become Wealthier?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

by Karin Delaney

May 1, 2023


My fellow citizens of Loveland:

Centerra South appears to be a wonderful development. However, there are a lot of issues that those

who write so glowingly about it, most of whom have a financial interest in its development, aren’t

talking about.


The developers have asked that this development be partially funded through a method called URA

financing. URA’s use property tax funds to offset the costs of development. That means they are using

your dollars. In addition, URAs have been widely mis-used to fund development of agricultural land.

URA stands for “urban renewal authority.” These laws were enacted to help re-develop “urban” lands,

not farm land. The idea was that run-down, unsafe city areas required significant remediation, so it was

worthwhile to provide a taxpayer funded assist. This is not the case with pristine farmland. In 2010, a

law was passed in Colorado to limit the use of farmland in URAs, but the developer is using a unique

interpretation of that law to try and create a new URA for Centerra South.


If that holds, and Colorado lawmakers are working diligently to make sure it doesn’t, this development

would be funded by over $155 million of taxpayer money, the bulk of which is coming from city

property taxes and the school district mill levy. The school district funds would be backfilled by the

state, since the state guarantees that each school have an equal amount of money per student. But the

intent of the school finance act was never to make up for losses by sending money to for-profit

developers! It’s just another way that your tax dollars, now tax dollars to the state, are used to fund this

development, meaning that all Colorado taxpayers are now on the hook for this money, not just local

ones.


We’re told that eventually the development will make more money for our city than it uses, based on

conservative projections by the development team. But let’s look at those projections for the original

Centerra. The sales tax revenue projection for 2022 was $8.8 million. It was actually just over $4 million.

Worse yet, their projection for cost to the city in services was around $4 million, in reality it was $8.9

million. So why should we believe these projections? Projections are just crystal ball wishes and hopes,

no one can say for sure what the actual numbers will be. And when projections fall short, as they did

here, who makes up that $5 million loss? Yes, your tax dollars again.


We’re told that no one will bear any costs, except those who live and shop in Centerra South. But that’s

simply not true. Colorado taxpayers make up the backfill. City of Loveland taxpayers make up any

shortfalls in projections. You’ll be told that enough sales tax will be generated to cover the state backfill,

but that’s not true either, unless every single shopper in Centerra South came from out of state – that’s

far too incredulous to believe. What happens in reality is that sales tax dollars just move from one city

to another, but it’s still the same state sales tax. And even if it were true? Because we are in a TABOR

situation, any additional revenue is refunded to taxpayers. It does NOT help the state budget…at all!

We’ve also been told that we’ll have affordable housing, and a Children’s Museum. The Children’s

Museum was always coming to Loveland, just in a different location. There is no guarantee of

affordable housing, and the latest talk seems to be that they’ll just donate some land to the Loveland

Housing Authority and let them build it. And guess who pays for that? Not quite what you’ve been

seeing in the op-eds, right?


It will be said that I’m anti-development. I’m not. I just want them to pay their own way.

McWhinney, whether you believe them to be great for Loveland or not, is a for profit,

multi-millionaire developer. We don’t need to give them our money so they can make more.

Please go to the city website and let your Councilors know you are against our hard-earned dollars

being used to fund profit-making ventures by wealthy developers. And please show up at the May 2nd

City Council meeting to tell them the same.


For the record, I am not against development. You’ll hear that argument again and again, but it’s not

true. I’m happy to see Centerra South built. I just don’t want to pay for it, and you shouldn’t either.

Why should we be helping the wealthy become wealthier?


Karin Delaney, Larimer County resident

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