Voters to Decide on Lodgers Tax, Ursine Feeding Frenzy



The Durango City Council will ask voters in November to keep excess lodgers tax revenues. Bears have entered their fall feeding frenzy to put on weight for winter. And the Tour de Farms returns. You’re watching the Local News Roundup, brought to you by The Norm Philips Team at Draper and Kramer Mortgage, and Service Master Restore. I’m Wendy Graham Settle. The Durango City Council decided unanimously at its August 16th meeting to ask voters to keep excess lodgers tax revenues. The question will appear on the November general election ballot sent to city voters. The city estimates it will have an excess of nearly $1.2 million in lodgers tax revenues from 2021 and 2022. After voters approved a lodgers tax increase in 2021, the city collected nearly $700,000 more than the limit it identified in the 2021 ballot question. According to the Tabor Amendment, those excess revenues must be refunded to the taxpayers or the city must ask voters to keep the revenues. The city expects a similar excess of more than $500,000 in 2022. The city has earmarked 66% of the excess revenues for affordable housing, 20% for parking and transportation, and 14% for arts and culture programs. If voters deny the request, the money will be refunded to residential utility customers at about $200 per account. To learn more, visit durangogov.org. Colorado’s black bears have been striken with hyperphagia. That’s a fancy way of saying they’re starting their fall feeding frenzy, and they will spend up to 20 hours a day trying to eat more than 20,000 calories a day to fatten up for winter. Colorado Parks and Wildlife warns that bear activity in urban areas could ramp up over the next several months as they search for food. Significant portions of Colorado experienced a hard freeze in May, resulting in the loss of a majority of food sources above 7000 feet in elevation. Continued drought also has cut into their food supplies. Colorado Parks and Wildlife says bears will still be able to find food in the wild, but trash, bird seed, pet food, and barbecue grills will attract bears looking for an easy dinner. To bear proof your home, keep garbage in a secured location and put it out the morning of collection. Clean garbage cans with ammonia regularly to rid them of food odors. Don’t leave pet or stock food outside. Bring bird feeders inside at night. Better yet, don’t hang feeders between April and November. Don’t attract other wildlife by feeding them. Secure compost piles, clean the grill after each use, keep garage doors closed, and remove fruit from orchards, don’t let it rot on the ground. For more information, visit cpw.state.co.us/bears. It’s time to celebrate Southwest Colorado’s abundant harvest with the Annual Tour de Farms bike ride and the Annual Harvest Dinner. The bike ride will be on Sunday, August 28th, and will follow a 25-mile route along County Road 250. The tour culminates at Carver Farm with a seasonal lunch prepared by Manna Soup Kitchen and beverages provided by Carver’s Brewing. You must register to participate. Visit mannasoupkitchen.org for more information. The Annual Harvest Dinner hosted by Local First will be on Saturday, October 8th, on The Smiley Building Lawn. Meal features five courses of locally produced veggies, meats, and other goodies, hand-crafted cocktails and hand-selected wines. Cost is a $135 and includes taxes and tips. Buy your tickets now, seating is limited. All proceeds from the Harvest Dinner benefit local farmers, restaurants, and Local First’s efforts to promote local food purchasing through the local, independent business community. Go to local-first.org/events for more information. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Roundup. I’m Wendy Graham Settle.

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