Boulder, CO

Boulder takes step toward adding expanded climate tax to ballot

Matt Whittaker

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Front Range foothills above Boulder with wildfire haze and dust kicked up from a tractor.Bo Insogna / Flickr

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Boulder, Colo.) The Boulder City Council gave preliminary approval to add a proposed climate tax to the November ballot.

In a unanimous vote last week, council members gave initial approval to a ballot measure asking voters to decide on an ordinance to replace $4 million in annual climate taxes with a new tax of at least $6.5 million. 

A final council vote on the measure will take place on Sept. 1, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.

“In the upcoming election, Boulder voters will see two climate-related ballot items from the city: one to authorize the new climate tax and another to allow the city to borrow against the climate tax,” a city newsletter said Friday.

Initially, the council considered a $5 million minimum climate tax, but increased worries about wildland blazes after last year’s Marshall Fire in Boulder County prompted the city council to increase its proposed climate tax, eliminating a reduction in household climate spending from the original proposal.

Under the new proposal, the current $42.95 residential rate would rise to $49.66. The prior proposal decreased the cost to $38.20.

Commercial customers would see an increase on their energy bills from $292.42 to $487.37, and industrial customers’ tax would jump from $1,084.11 to $1,806.85.

The extra $1.5 million could go toward grant programs for home and business projects that reduce wildfire risk, such as vegetation removal, roofing and siding replacement and fence reconstruction. The proposal also includes a dedicated fire-rescue team focused on wildfire mitigation and burying power lines in risk prone areas.

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

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