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Friday, June 9, 2023

Longmont library, recreation and culture survey results pave way for ‘hard choices’

Longmont Public Library pictured Friday. (Matthew Jonas – Staff Photographer)

Whether it’s a new branch library, additional recreational facilities or an arts and entertainment center, the majority of Longmont residents want new amenities, according to the results of a survey Recent Urban Survey. However, questions remain over which of these same survey respondents will actually vote on which item or items to raise taxes this November.

The city’s library, recreation and culture survey was conducted by Magellan Strategies between February 22 and March 8 and was completed by 2,842 residents. The online survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percent.

“We’re pretty confident in the numbers, which is why the margin of error is so low,” Ryan Winger, director of data analytics at Magellan Strategies, said Monday. Something that really makes your mouth water.”

60% of survey respondents said they would vote for a new $22.7 million branch that adds $38 a year in property taxes on $500,000 homes and also adds a “.11% sales tax” .

The new library will feature meeting, programming and study spaces, reading areas, and creative arts and technology laboratories.

The 60% approval rating doesn’t tell the whole story, though, as only 29% of respondents said they would “definitely” support the new branch, and only 31% said they would “probably” vote for it.

Likewise, while 56 percent of survey respondents said they would vote for the new entertainment center, only 27 percent said they would “definitely” support it, while 29 percent said they would “probably” vote for it.

The new recreation center will include a lap pool, fitness studio, a gymnasium and a running track, and will cost an estimated $64 million. The new recreational facility will add $108 per year to property taxes on a $500,000 home and also includes a 0.15% sales tax increase.

“There hasn’t been any response as strong as I think most of the polling companies or pollsters are implying, and you want to see the confidence to move forward with the ballot initiative,” said Councilman Tim Waters, who serves as liaison with the city’s parks commission. ) & Recreation Advisory Board, said Monday.

In the survey section, where residents can share their thoughts and opinions, some residents made it clear that the cost of living was already too high. Many respondents also believed that items should be separated on the ballot rather than packaged together to make them more popular with voters.

Many respondents also felt that a city like Longmont, with about 100,000 residents, should have its own arts and entertainment center.

Currently, the Longmont Symphony Orchestra performs many concerts at the Vance Brand Civic Auditorium located within Skyline High School.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they would “definitely” or “likely” support an arts and entertainment center if it meant raising property taxes by $76 a year on a $500,000 home and increasing sales tax by 0.06%.

The city’s contribution to the arts and entertainment center will amount to $45 million and a Union of musiciansbusiness owners and community leaders proposed to raise the remaining $35 million needed for the $80 million facility.

“When we … (a) open again, close again recession … looming; when we have bank failures, when we have staffing like every major business or entity When issues arise, you have to really make hard choices about your priorities,” Assemblyman Sean McCoy said Monday.

Longmont City Council is scheduled to review the results of the Library, Recreation and Culture Survey during its regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council Chamber, 350 Kimbark St.

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