An upcoming city council election, a reduction to the sales tax, and new developments were among several topics highlighted during a recent town hall meeting hosted by the City of Lone Tree.
Held at the Lone Tree Hub, Mayor Jackie Millet said the town hall would be her last, as her term ends in May.
There will be a city council election in May 2024, where three seats will be up for election — the mayor’s seat, a District 1 seat and a District 2 seat.
The city is split into two voting districts, and the council recently approved changes to the boundaries.
Millet said that if someone is interested in serving on city council, there will be a candidate orientation event Jan. 22.
Lone Tree voters, the Lone Tree Voice wants to hear from you!
There will be a city council election this spring, with three seats up for election.
When we interview candidates for city council, we want to ask the questions that matter to you.
What do you want the candidates to be discussing as they compete for votes?
Please email Tayler Shaw at email@example.com and share what questions you have for candidates and the issues you want addressed.
Upcoming decrease in city’s sales tax
This December, the city’s sales and use tax will decrease from the current rate of 2.8125% to 2.5%, Millet said.
The 0.3125% decrease is because the arts and cultural facilities bonds as well as the parks and recreation improvement bonds will be paid off on Dec. 1, according to Millet’s presentation.
The 0.3125% sales tax was approved by voters in 2008 to build recreation projects and the Lone Tree Arts Center, according to the city’s website.
“We are thrilled to let you know those bonds are gonna be paid off, and on Dec. 1, (the) sales tax is gonna drop … down to 2.5%,” Millet said.
A look at the budget
Millet said Lone Tree’s financial picture is great, highlighting the importance of voters approving ballot issue 2E in November 2021, which increased the city’s sales tax by 1%.
“That has made all the difference in the world and positioned us to stay on … vision with what was originally conceived when the city was founded,” she said.
Lone Tree is funded primarily by the sales and use tax, Millet said.
According to her presentation, the projected 2024 operating revenue is roughly $60.8 million. Taxes make up about 73.1% of that.
“We really rely on people coming into this city to fund city operations,” Millet said.
The city’s projected budget expenditures for 2024 amount to about $66 million, according to the presentation.
Of the projected expenditures, capital expenses make up 23.1%, the police department is 18.2% and public works is 15.2%.
Millet noted that the projected expenditures for 2024 are higher than projected revenues.
“That’s planned, too,” she said. “When we talked to you about 2E, we talked about investing in the future and creating a savings account. And that’s what we’re doing with those dollars.”
“So yes, we are investing $66 million,” she added.
Three upcoming projects: regional park, justice center and public works facility
A reason why the city’s expenditures are projected to be higher than its revenues is because the city is going to start construction on three projects next year, Millet said.
One of the projects is an 80-acre regional park located east of Interstate 25 and south of RidgeGate Parkway.
“In addition to that park, we’re building a new public works facility,” Millet said.
The city has grown over the years and its existing facility is not large enough to accommodate its maintenance trucks or vehicles, she said.
“So, we are increasing the size of that facility,” she said.
A third project is building a justice center, Millet said.
She said the city currently holds its municipal court in the Lone Tree Civic Center, which is located nearby the Cook Creek Pool.
“One thing I’m not happy to share with you is that we’ve seen a change in the level of offenses that are coming into, and the violence of criminals coming into our municipal court,” Millet said.
“This is not the municipal court that it was 25 years ago, and it does not make sense to keep that facility in the neighborhood anymore,” she added.
Millet said the city’s police department has been shoehorned into what was an office building.
The new justice center will include courts and a facility for the police department to have the training and office space they need, she said.
Lone Tree Elevated
Millet said one of the biggest initiatives that Lone Tree is undertaking right now is a project called Lone Tree Elevated.
The project is to update the city’s comprehensive plan and land use code, both of which help guide development in the city.
The new comprehensive plan will guide the city’s growth through 2045.
“That’s the plan that decides the future of this community and where it’s gonna go and what our values are going to be,” she said. She encouraged community members to get involved and share their input. Those interested in learning more about Lone Tree Elevated can visit LoneTreeElevated.com.
Revitalizing the business, entertainment area near Treõ
Another goal for the city is to revitalize its “Entertainment District” area, which is roughly 67 acres of land near South Yosemite Street and C-470.
Within the Entertainment District, the movie theater closed its doors after 25 years of operation, Millet said. Mimi’s Cafe, located nearby, also closed.
“We recognize that this area of our community, the Entertainment District, is not as vibrant as any of us want it to be,” she said.
Millet said the city is in the process of standing up an urban renewal authority for the Entertainment District.
An urban renewal authority can manage urban renewal plans, aiming to eliminate and prevent the spread of deteriorating conditions in the area and facilitate redevelopment.
On Dec. 5, the city council will conduct a public hearing to consider the approval of the urban renewal plan for Lone Tree Entertainment District Urban Renewal Area. This provides the opportunity for residents to share their thoughts on the plan and voice whether they think the council should approve it or not.
Those interested in learning more about the upcoming hearing and seeing a copy of the plan can visit bit.ly/ura1205.
Regarding the Treõ At Lone Tree Property, located on the corner of Yosemite Street and Maximus Drive, Millet said the city is under contract to purchase the property.
In September, the council approved a resolution that permitted the city to spend up to $3.85 million to purchase the roughly 3.36-acre property, with the intent of the city then selling or leasing the property to a restaurant or entertainment-focused business.
“The city buying a piece of property is not something that we all embraced,” Millet said. “We gave it a good run before we decided there was no other choice. We saw contract after contract, after contract fall apart with the property owner.”
According to a city staff report, Treõ operated as a nightclub until it closed more than 13 years ago. The commercial property has been vacant since 2009.
“This facility has been challenging, to say the least,” Millet said. “It has taken … an unbelievable amount of city resources.”
Millet said it was in the best interest of the city to purchase the property.
“And we are then, immediately, going to go out for requests for proposals for the private sector to redevelop this into entertainment, restaurant, retail-use — to once again bring revenue back into the city instead of us spending a lot of money on it,” she said.