WINDSOR, Colo — On Monday, Oct. 24, the Windsor Town Board voted unanimously to pay off the Community Recreation Center expansion loan and retire a portion of the sales tax rate that funded the project. This allows the town to reduce its sales tax from 3.95% to 3.40% starting Jan. 1, 2023.
In November 2014, Windsor voters approved a 0.75% sales and use tax increase to fund the $16.1 million Community Recreation Center expansion project. Of this sales tax, .55% will be eliminated as directed by the original ballot measure. The remaining 0.2% approved in 2014 will continue to be used exclusively for ongoing maintenance of the facility.
“After an annual review of the recreation center finances, we determined that we would be able to pay off the expansion loan this year, ultimately saving residents $1.5 million in interest payments,” said Finance Director Dean Moyer. “When we issued bonds for the expansion, we originally thought we were going to pay it off in December 2034. We are proud to announce we paid it off 12 years earlier than we initially thought.”
“I was very excited when I was informed that an early payoff of this construction loan was going to be possible so soon,” said Windsor Mayor Paul Rennemeyer. “The highest priority of our Town Board is fiscal responsibility. This portion of the sales tax, which will be ending, has served its purpose. By paying off this debt so early, we are passing on a huge savings to all of our residents, which is fantastic news.”
What Did the Expansion Tax Fund?
“The expansion of the Community Recreation Center was pivotal in providing new, accessible opportunities for the community through quality programs and improved facility amenities,” said Deputy Director of Parks, Recreation & Culture Tara Fotsch. “The addition of the wellness studio, auxiliary gym, indoor walking track and aquatic center, has helped us continually improve the quality of life in Windsor.”
When the construction of the first phase of the recreation center was proposed in 2002, plans were also included for the potential future expansion. The 0.75% sales and use tax approved by voters in 2014 funded the bonds that were secured for the expansion, which was completed in 2016.
The initial construction bonds were issued with a true interest cost of 3.84% through the final maturity of Dec. 1, 2034 and were refinanced to a shorter-term loan in 2017.
The ballot measure that was approved in 2014 designated 0.55% of the sales tax increase to be appropriated to pay off the bonds that were issued for the recreation center expansion, with the remaining 0.2% going exclusively toward ongoing maintenance of the facility.
Through staff analysis and routine review, the Finance team and the Town Board looked at the town's current debt to determine what can be paid off early. During this review, which happens annually as part of the budget process, it was determined that the town has sufficient funds to pay off the remaining expansion project debt in full.
“The Town Board has always taken great pride in the town’s low levels of debt and has continuously challenged staff to eliminate what little debt that we do carry,” said Town Manager Shane Hale. “It was through this analysis that we discovered that we had steady growth in our revenues due to several factors including more people, inflation and online sales taxes, that we could actually pay off our bond in one-third of time originally projected and concurrently eliminate the sales tax amount that was pledged for the debt.”
Looking Ahead at Sales and Use Tax Rates
Looking ahead, the Town of Windsor is asking voters to consider the Open Space Sales Tax measure, which is on the November 8 ballot. On Monday, Aug. 22, the Windsor Town Board referred a 0.25% Open Space Sales Tax increase to voters to help fund the future purchase of land for use and protection as open space.
If approved by Windsor voters, the local sales tax rate would increase from 3.40% to 3.65%. Combined with the retirement of the Recreation Center Expansion Tax, this would constitute a net decrease to the sales tax rate of 0.3% as compared to the current tax rate. To summarize:
Current rate: 3.95%
Less reduction: .55%
Reduced rate: 3.40%- - without Open Space Tax rate
Open Space rate: .25% - - if approved by voters on November 8
Resulting rate: 3.65% - - if approved by voters on November 8
To view ballot language and frequently asked questions and answers about the Open Space Sales Tax measure, visit windsorgov.com/openspacesalestax.
Celebrating the Paid-Off Expansion
“As a team, we really want to celebrate this milestone with the community,” said Fotsch. “Stay tuned for details on an upcoming grand celebration at the recreation center.”
Town Manager Shane Hale expressed his gratitude, saying, “I want to thank the community for giving us your trust with your tax dollars, and hope that you are as proud of the Community Recreation Center as we are.”
For more information about the Community Recreation Center visit, recreationliveshere.com.