PROS AND CONS OF SELF-RULE
UPDATED JAN 14 2020
Niwot represented by Niwot residents. A focused local government will be represented by elected officials who live in Niwot, dine in Niwot, shop in Niwot, and put the interests of Niwot’s citizens and businesses at the forefront of every decision.
Currently Niwot is a low priority to the Boulder County Commissioners, representing under 1.5% of their constituents.
Many feel that the Boulder County Commissioners have well served and represented Niwot over the years, and will continue to represent Niwot into the future. The guide is the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan. (See FAQ: What does the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan have to say about Niwot?)
New property taxes of 7.5 mills along with increased sales tax and additional funds available to an self-ruling Niwot will fund the new local government and bring all of Niwot's roads to good condition in 6 years. See Road Analysis, Draft Budget
A group within Boulder County is working on a solution to improve subdivision roads throughout the county currently rated poor/fair. Many details have yet to be determined. Options include county-wide mill-levy increase, though funds returning to Niwot and timeline are yet to be determined. Additionally a Niwot-wide PID remains an option, although no numbers are available.
A focused local government can ensure that more of our tax dollars stay in Niwot, serving Niwot’s citizens. A self-ruling Niwot would have access to funds that are only available to municipalities such as the Highway User’s fund, Cigarette tax, Road and Bridge fund, Specific Ownership Tax (Automobile), franchise agreements with utilities such as Comcast and Xcel, and Federal and State grants.
A self-ruling Niwot will almost certainly require an increase in property and/or sales tax to pay for the costs of running a town: administrative staff, public works, public safety, municipal court, land use, elections, finance, etc. (Note: See Roads above for potential property tax increase outside of incorporation for road improvements)
Zoning and Land Use
A Niwot Land Use department's sole priority will be for the community of Niwot. They will be responsive to the needs and desires of Niwot and its citizens in a timely manner. The primary objective will be to maintain and enhance the quaint small-town charm of Niwot. See FAQ: What Land Use and Zoning Rules will be followed if Niwot Incorporates?
Boulder County has years of experience running a Land Use department for the entire county. At times their response may be slow but there's no evidence that a much faster response is necessarily worth the risk of self-ruling.
Level of Services
Niwot's elected government will have the ability to negotiate for the best quality and price for our services. The Boulder County Sheriff can be commissioned to continue providing law enforcement services to Niwot residents. Snow removal, road maintenance and other services can be bid out to get the best response at the most competitive price.
It is difficult to accept that a new incorporated town can deliver services superior to Boulder County Staff with years of experience. There is risk in the unknown.
Niwot's elected government can support Niwot’s identity as a desirable place to live, to work, to dine, shop and to invest. This should have a significant positive impact on property values over time. A 1% increase in property value would offset 13 years of increase in property taxes.
Niwot’s identity is already firmly established and consistent with the identity allowed as part of unincorporated Boulder County.