Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland, February 18, 2015

Despite every council candidate in the 2013 Loveland City Council election promising a
repeal of the city's unusually high grocery sales tax,  Loveland's City Council rejected such a
motion offered by Councilman Troy Krenning Tuesday night.

Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez along with City Manager Bill Cahill, both opponents of the
repeal, set the Loveland City Council meeting agenda.  For years both Cahill and Gutierrez
have refused to allow a vote on the tax claiming insufficient financial information to
forecast the impact on city revenue among other excuses.  This has allowed a number of
councilors allied with Mayor Gutierrez to continue claiming they support the repeal they
campaigned on while never facing a vote to demonstrate their commitment.

Tuesday night any speculation regarding their positions came to a sudden and unexpected
end as they were forced to cast a vote.  A frustrated Councilman Troy Krenning offered a
motion to put such an appeal of Loveland's 3% grocery tax in motion receiving immediate
support from Councilmen Dave Clark and Hugh McKean who both seconded Krenning's
motion in unison.  The motion failed 4-3 with Mayor Gutierrez and Council members Joan
Shaffer, Ralph Trenary and Phil Farley voting to retain Loveland's 3% sales tax on all
grocery items.

Among the reasons stated for their vote against the motion was Cahill's argument the item
was not on the council's meeting agenda.  While those voting against the repeal repeated
Cahill's process and agenda complaints they also agreed to entertain a study session of the

Loveland's Grocery Sales Tax

Loveland is among the few cities in the State of Colorado that levies a full sales tax on
groceries while most either exempt groceries from their sales taxes altogether or collect a
lesser portion of their sales tax on grocery items.  The State of Colorado and Larimer County
specifically ask retailers across the state to segregate food for exemption from sales taxes.  

Loveland shoppers can see on their receipts that non-food items are taxed at 6.55% like
most consumer goods purchased within city limits (3% City of Loveland, 0.65% Larimer
County, 2.9% State of Colorado).  However, food items are segregated for a sales tax of only
3% as both the State of Colorado and Larimer County exempt unprepared food from
taxation.  Loveland City Manager Bill Cahill has long argued the city doesn't know what
revenue it receives from food versus non-food items thus cannot accurately project the
potential loss to the city's budget.  

Curiously, members of the city council have repeated Cahill's assertions even claiming it
would be too much of a burden on city super markets to ask them to make such a change in
how they charge sales taxes.  Apparently, a majority of Loveland's City Council is unaware
of the fact food items are already segregated for exclusive City of Loveland taxation in every
grocery receipt.

Advocates for the poor generally oppose taxing food since it is a regressive tax (meaning it
impacts the poorest the most) thus reducing the amount of food they can afford to buy for
their families on a limited budget.  Wealthy people don't necessarily consume more food so
the impact as a percent of their income is de minimis.

Earlier in the same meeting Loveland's City Council was considering yet another business
incentive for a grocery retailer to come to Loveland by waiving certain fees to be "repaid"
by the future purchases of the market's customers through the grocery sales tax.  

March 24 Study Session

Councilman Krenning has not given-up and is exploiting his colleague's promises to permit
a "study session" discussion of the item.   According to city policy, if any four members of
the council request an item to be placed on an agenda the staff is required to place the item
in the upcoming meeting agenda.

At right (see email chain) Councilman Trenary is continuing his effort to suffocate any effort
to repeal the grocery tax through ongoing procedural objections.  Councilman John Fogle,
who did not attend last Tuesday's meeting thus was unable to vote, is the fourth member of
the city council expressing a desire to have staff provide the council with an actionable
resolution and ordinance to vote on repealing the tax.  
Loveland's Council Rejects Repeal of
City's Grocery Sales Tax
From: Ward I - Troy Krenning <Troy.>
Date: February 18, 2015 at 10:30:20 PM MST
To: Ward II - Joan Shaffer <Joan.>
Cc: Ward IV - Ralph Trenary <Ralph.>, Ward III - John Fogle
<>, Tami Yellico <Tami.>, City Council
<>, Temp CCMAIL
Subject: Re: grocery sales tax


You have been on Council for over five years and the
only thing you have done toward reducing or
eliminating the tax on food is talk about it, generally
around election time.

The City Manager has said numerous times that the
risk might be an approximate loss in revenue of $7m.  
I underscore might.  Since I doubt most people who
save 3% on bread and milk will run to the local
savings and loan and open a passbook savings
account, it may very well be that the 3% goes right
back in the stream of commerce.  In other words,  we
could see a bump in the purchase of non-grocery
items of which we will still collect our 3% ante.  There
is a concept known as "disposable income", it
suggests that people spend what they don't need for
fixed, reoccurring expenses.

We (you) gave Sprouts $2.2m a few weeks ago and
last night several were giddy over a $6m slush in
rollover that we wanted to blow on another grocery
store incentive.

At what point does the madness stop?  Have you ever
said no to a spending request?  Ever said no to a
budget rollover?

Instead of pretending like we need more information
and hiding behind what the "impacts" might be to our
citizens, why don't you chose to lead instead of being

Here is a very predictable "impact"; the cost of
groceries will go down by 3% to the people paying the
taxes and buying food in Loveland.  Let's call it an
incentive, we cherish those.  An incentive to the
citizens to keep more of their money and spend it on
things that matter to them and their families, instead
of the City hoarding their cash.  

It may be tough but I'm willing to bet that if we really
had to, the council could find the necessary
decreases in spending to more than make up for a
$7m reduction in a $225m budget.  But of course
Council, those you have sat on for five years, have
never made reductions, instead you just go along with
the annual increases.

Last year myself and at least two others questioned
all the new budget plus ups.  The Mayor thinks it is
because members missed study sessions.  I don't
speak for others but my questioning was more
centered on why.  Why do we need these new things
and positions?  We agonize over the cost of housing
and living in Loveland, all the while, showing NO
restraint in spending tax dollars for feel good

I'm tired of the charade that is played by you and
others acting like you are an advocate for citizens.  
Just put the item up for a vote and vote no.  It's easy
enough, you had no pause doing so last night.

Lastly, speaking about good and fair information
being presented to our citizens.  Do you call the
scripted Sprouts night of reconsideration a few weeks
ago to be good and fair?  Is that the idea of public
input that you seek?  And as for civil manner,  your
non-sensical rant about some quote you misread (
yes, misread I had a dear neighbor being me the
article, outraged by your rehearsed anger) in the
newspaper and suggestion that I owed you an
apology, is that the civil manner you are hoping for?


Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 18, 2015, at 7:59 PM, Ward II - Joan Shaffer
<> wrote:

Dear Ralph,

I agree, and consider Councilor Krenning's push for a
resolution on abolishing the grocery sales tax to be
presented at the March 3 council meeting to be both
reckless and inane.

We, as councilors, don't know what that impact could
mean for our citizens, nor have we provided them with
facts, implications, risks or benefits for our community
well being. Hell, we can't even get a commitment from
all of us to attend a special half day meeting to begin
our 2016 budget review, one that we asked for!

We are seated at the dais to insure good and fair
information be presented and appropriate
opportunities for public discussion occurs. Such
process allows us to fairly represent our community's
interests. We largely agreed, last night, that we begin
deeply exploring the grocery tax issue at our March
24 study session, pushing aside a long-planned, and
clamored for, exploration of our capital expansion fee
(CEFs) program. That being the result of the
"magical" four plus preference, I plan, and intend, to
focus on our conducting city business in an orderly
and civil manner.

Thank you,

Joan Shaffer
Loveland City Councilor, Ward II

Sent on a Samsung Galaxy S®4

-------- Original message --------
From: Ward IV - Ralph Trenary
Date:02/18/2015 5:49 PM (GMT-07:00)
To: Ward I - Troy Krenning ,Ward III - John Fogle
Cc: Tami Yellico ,City Council ,Temp CCMAIL
Subject: Re: grocery sales tax


This Resolution needs to wait until after the March 24
Study Session. It is premature, and even reckless, to
bring it to the March 3, Regular Meeting. This would
be a waste of staff time.

We are less than 24-hours out from consensus that a
thorough examination of the issue was needed. We
selected the March 24 Study Session for that
important work. Acting to erase that so quickly via
email is unacceptable.

A first reading vote on March 3 leads to a second
reading on March 17. This circumvents last night's
agreement and makes the professed urgency for the
Study Session irrelevant. Many of us, possibly
including those absent last night, have more to
discuss, ideas on this proposal to share and
questions that deserve full consideration at the Study

Since the dais motion last night failed, and did not
even gain four votes (rule of 4), there is no Council
directive to bring this Resolution. The next
presentation on this issue should appropriately occur
on March 24.

Ralph Trenary
City Councilor - Ward 4
Loveland, Colorado
970-213-9224 cell/v-mail/text
Facebook - Ralph Trenary – City Councilor, Loveland,

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From: Ward I - Troy Krenning
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 16:21
To: Ward III - John Fogle
Cc: Tami Yellico; City Council; Temp CCMAIL
Subject: Re: grocery sales tax


Please bring a proper resolution to the next meeting.  
I would like to introduce it and bring a vote on the
issue.  Since my motion was improper lets do it right.  
City Council has been talking about eliminating the
grocery tax for years, no better time than the present
to put words into action.

Cslr Fogle is 100% right, we should adhere to
processes and not forego the significance of second
readings and such.  

Thank you,


Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 18, 2015, at 4:06 PM, Ward III - John Fogle
<> wrote:

Tami --

Am I understanding this to mean that these sort of
changes can't be made without prior public notice,
due public comment time and two readings?

John Fogle
City Council -- Ward III
From: Tami Yellico
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 1:19 PM
To: City Council
Subject: grocery sales tax

Mayor & City Council,

As you know, at last night’s City Council meeting there
was a vote with regard to the elimination of grocery
sales tax.  If the motion had passed, we would have
considered it as direction to staff to prepare the
necessary ordinance for Council consideration.  If and
when City Council decides to eliminate grocery sales
tax that action will have to be taken by ordinance,
because the City’s sales tax code provisions will have
to amended.  This is also appropriate because proper
notice of the issue will be given and there will be an
opportunity for public comment on the ordinance.

Thank you,


Tami Yellico

City Attorney

City of Loveland

500 East Third Street

Loveland, CO 80537

Loveland City Council Emails
following the meeting