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Comment Archives: stories: News: Local News

Re: “Road show

"Government is how we take care of ourselves and as in the rest of life, you get what you pay for. The alternative to government is not some imaginary paradise, but anarchy."

1) Fundamental philosophy difference: government is NOT how we take of ourselves.

2) False dilemma fallacy: largest tax increase EVER in City history or...anarchy.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Liberty for COS on 08/27/2015 at 12:59 PM

Re: “Road show

If State govt was in COS instead of Denver, COS would be booming and Denver would be riddled with potholes and asking its citizens for a $250M sales tax increase. But, looking on the bright side, COS has Pikes Peak and Denver only has a downtown stadium to brag about.

I wonder if .62% of the 1.23% - that's precisely half of the County's share of the sales tax - could be allocated to road repair. If so, all $250M would come from the County, and there would be no need to raise the City sales tax .62% for the next 5 years. I suppose the County commissioners would object. There must be some reasons why this is a bad idea. But maybe, at the very least, those dollars the County intends to contribute to building a downtown stadium could be contributed instead to road repair?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by curious on 08/27/2015 at 11:08 AM

Re: “Road show

Liberty and curious: If you go to the grocery store and pay x dollars for yogurt, that doesn't mean you get to go to a car dealer and pay x-1 for a vehicle. In fact, you'll pay x plus a lot more, based on cost of manufacture, overhead, etc. Same with public entities.Those levies are set by a number of organizations based on cost of doing business. City property taxes here are very, very low for the level of services a largely retired population wants to pay. Those who thought they would get around property taxes with special districts are finding out that eventually they have to ante up.

Denver is no example because Denver is a different place, as are Austin, Indianapolis, etc. They are state capitols. We are not. They are booming. We are not. We are a resort/retired/military installation, stalemated ironically because every old fogey in town is paranoid about government while two of those three categories live on government checks. Again, Denver, Indianapolis and Austin are not in the same boat.

Government is how we take care of ourselves and as in the rest of life, you get what you pay for. The alternative to government is not some imaginary paradise, but anarchy.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Clara McKenna on 08/27/2015 at 10:09 AM

Re: “Road show

Looking at a sample El Paso County property tax statement on their website, property owners are paying for schools, the library system, water conservancy, and paying towards roads & bridges in the county and roads & bridges in the city. Property owners are already paying enough of the tax burden that brings the good life to all city/county citizens.

Denver citizens pay a total sales tax of 7.62%, of which 3.62% is city sales tax and zero goes to the county. The COS sales tax totals 7.63%, of which 2.5% is city sales tax and 1.23% goes to the county, for a total of 3.73%. COS collects a bit more sales tax than Denver, and yet COS needs a 5-year tax infusion of $250M to do catch up on road work that should have been done all along. Denver citizens aren't being asked to cough up $250M for roads. What is Denver doing right that COS is doing wrong? The answer is as visionary as it's iconic. Denver has a downtown stadium and COS doesn't. COS lack of a stadium explains why Denver has smooth paved streets and COS has potholes.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by curious on 08/26/2015 at 9:26 PM

Re: “Road show

Here’s the property tax issue…Yes—our CITY property tax mil levy is relatively low (though by no means the lowest in Colorado) at 4.279 mils. However, a huge portion of residents also pay much more than the City’s mil levy and the County’s 7.461 mil levy. The same politicians who have allowed the City to subsidize development over the years have allowed the explosion of “special taxing districts.” There are more than 80 special taxing districts in Colorado Springs. In some new developments, mil levies to the special districts are 40 mils—almost 10 times what the City’s mil levy is. And while a simple “Google search” about “Colorado Springs property tax rates” will show that the City’s rate is on the lower end in the country, when you incorporate special districts, property owners are paying some of the highest tax rates. Isolate the 4.297 mils City tax, it’s easy to say, “residents could easily afford to pay more…” But looking at the whole property tax bill: 4.297 mils to the City; 40 mils to a “metro district”; library district at 4.0 mils…then include the fact that several annexed areas of the City are double taxed for fire protection. For example, Flying Horse pays 7 mils for the Wescott Fire District on top of the City mil levy which is supposed to include fire protection. Throw in school districts…when you put it all together, it is difficult to say that all residents have low property tax bills and should pony up more.

So what about “special districts?” Frequently, new “metropolitan districts” are formed before an area is developed. They are formed under state law and approved by City Council. Then, a small group of individuals—usually a builder or developer, a couple of partners and their families—apply to City Council to hold a “TABOR election” with that handful of people. The handful of voters unanimously approves a 35 or 40-mil tax that will last for 40 years for the hundreds of residents who will subsequently live there. As the community is built out, residents pay 40 mils to the developer’s “metro district,” a “quasi-government entity,” whose board of directors is the developer and his people. Developers then get the benefit of government bond rates, issue millions in debt to reimburse themselves for the cost of infrastructure and roads that were built (and then handed over to the City and maintained with 4.279 mils) and the residents make the debt payments with their 40 mil tax. So…again residents are subsidizing development. Most would-be home buyers don’t understand what the tax to a “metro district” is until they’re at a closing table and the moving truck is enroute.

One can see why it is so critical and such a good investment for developers to spend money on City elections.

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Liberty for COS on 08/26/2015 at 4:57 PM

Re: “Road show

Re Liberty and curious: It's hard to escape the fact that taxpayers and developers are equally at fault when it comes to not wanting to pay for services. Sales tax is always a flawed way to pay for the basics because it covers costs only in times when the demand for consumer goods is high. We need a funding method that covers costs on a consistent basis. That means paying for services with property tax.

Our property tax for the city is about $50/$100,000. (The largest part of taxes goes for schools.) The general reaction to our property taxes from very successful people who live elsewhere is: You have got to be kidding. Residents of most municipal entities expect to pay more in a month in property tax than we pay in a year.

We get what we pay for in this world. Ideas such as limiting pensions are short sighted. We will pay to take care of people in old age whether we do it in the form of pensions or as Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid. Better to realize our responsibilities to public servants and allow them to earn pensions that will give them some dignity later in life. It's deferred compensation and it is wrong to arbitrarily try to remove it. Military pensioners should realize that their pensions are just as vulnerable as anyone else's if that becomes the fad.

I won't vote for a sales tax. I will vote for a property tax because it's sounder fiscal policy, but that fact seems to have escaped Colorado Springs and El Paso County.

3 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Clara McKenna on 08/26/2015 at 3:12 PM

Re: “Road show

The current portion of the 7.63% sales tax that goes to the city is 2.5%. Raising the city share .62% is an increase of 25%. That's a huge % increase. One wonders what the city has been doing all these years with its current substantial sales tax revenue. City councilman, Keith King, in an op-ed in the Gazette 2 weeks ago wrote that fire and police consume 53% of the budget. How much of this 53% is for pensions and medical? Back in 2010, during the city's financial crisis, Steve Bartolin, former CEO of the Broadmoor, found that city govt employee pensions were unsustainable and middle-management salaries were excessive. If a greater portion of pension costs need to be shifted from the city to the employee, how likely is it that the mayor and council will do so?

According to another Gazette article, the mayor is currently scouring the 2016 budget to find $8M for storm water. He's finding this task to be extremely difficult, but, to his credit, he's looking. King, in his op-ed, wrote: "There can be no sacred cows." Well, one sacred cow that can be eliminated is diverting $300M of sales tax revenue to the URA to finance building a downtown stadium. This one elimination will free up at least $10M a year that can be used for roads and storm water.

King recommends citizens vote Yes for a sales tax increase and THEN spend the next 5 years re-prioritizing the city budget so that all infrastructure and storm water work comes from the general fund. Would it not be better to postpone the election? OR vote for a ONE year sales tax increase, which would bring in $50M for roads, and spend that one year re-working the budget?

As usual, Liberty's comments are spot on. The cost of infrastructure for developments on the edges of the city should be borne by the developer, who will pass the costs on to the home/business owner. This too would bring the city budget into alignment as well as curb sprawl.

8 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by curious on 08/26/2015 at 1:28 PM

Re: “Road show

Important points to consider when deciding how to vote on these measures:

1) The City has consistently FAILED to spend what was budgeted for roads (see post here that links to all official documents legally filed by City and PPRTA demonstrating the failure: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?sto…). The only evidence to refute the failure to spend would be contracts that were EXECUTED in the budget years dollars were not spent. All other funds, by law, go into reserves and are not automatically re-appropriated for the same purpose the following year. The City is unable and/or unwilling to provide such contracts—only unsubstantiated claims that “the money was spent.”

Perhaps the City auditor with his recent pay raise (13.9% increase in salary since 2011-- https://coloradosprings.legistar.com/ViewR…) could perform and publish an AUDIT OF ALL DOLLARS BUDGETED AND AVAILABLE FOR ROADS OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM.

2) The Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) is a 1-cent/per dollar sales tax approved by voters who were led to believe the 35% of that 1-cent/per dollar designated for maintenance (this portion NEVER EXPIRES) would be used to improve the condition of roads. The maintenance portion of PPRTA taxes for the City has provided over recent years between $15 million and $24 million per year. Like general fund dollars budgeted for roads, the City has failed to spend its portion of PPRTA roadway maintenance dollars year after year. And for the funds the City HAS spent, it has failed to prioritize fixing roads.

To reiterate: PPRTA maintenance dollars from the special tax NEVER expire--about $20,000,000 per year for the City of Colorado Springs that are available for roadway maintenance. EVERY YEAR. INDEFINITELY. After being promised these maintenance dollars would be used to improve the condition of the roads, and seeing that the City has continuously failed to use and prioritize these dollars for that purpose and also seeing the City pledge other PPRTA funds to provide infrastructure for “City for Champions,” citizens may understandably be hesitant to sign over more of their paychecks for more promises.


3) Those who want to blame TABOR for the condition of our roads are misguided. What our esteemed City leaders have failed to do is to address what has led us to the current state of affairs with regard to the stormwater and the road situation--they have provided only a tax-increase band-aid. The individuals and entities who are financially backing the effort to pass this tax increase and the previous effort for new stormwater fees are the very same ones who have backed politicians who have allowed out-of-control and unchecked growth to occur. These developers have pushed to annex more areas and increased the lane miles and runoff many-fold, while their developments in many cases have provided a tiny fraction of the required revenue for the City to maintain the increased infrastructure, let alone the increased cost of providing public safety.

A new development adds an enormous number of lane miles inside the development. The developer “gives” the new roads to the City. The City graciously accepts the new and often poorly constructed roads with minimal standards and, after a short warranty period, the City is on the hook FOREVER to maintain the new roads. Many need resurfacing before the build-out is even complete. Why does the City continue to allow all this? Because politicians who are handpicked and financially backed by development interests to run the City government will ALWAYS support it. If they do not, their campaign coffers will dry out. There has been NO discussion of higher standards for new roads, looking at development fees or other alternatives to address the source of the problems. Why? Because the financiers of City political campaigns won’t permit that kind of heresy.

10 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Liberty for COS on 08/26/2015 at 10:21 AM

Re: “Road show

If the city election were held today, would you vote to approve or to deny the sales tax increase to fund road and street repairs? A ten-second 'Quick-Poll'. Thank you!

http://projectoneunity.homestead.com/Y-N-o…

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Staci6 on 08/26/2015 at 5:03 AM

Re: “Yes, it's asbestos

nice post! about asbestos most developed countries , have banned to use asbestos , but public awareness is still so small , so there are still so many users of asbestos in the world. i hope governments in each country , can act more forcefully , so that we all can live in peace without the threat of asbestos

Posted by Blake du Croz on 08/25/2015 at 10:12 PM

Re: “Slipping away

The primary thing that bothers me the most about this activity is the criminal waste of the most precious natural resource of all...water.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Kay Jones-Hutchins on 08/24/2015 at 9:53 AM

Re: “Slipping away

I calculate that Slide the City, a private, for profit company, netted over $100,000 from their one day event here when you add up the revenue from ticket sales and what they paid out. Since they got free labor through Upadowna, they did not have to pay wages (which would have been an actual benefit to the community). They used public infrastructure, inconvenienced thousands of locals and tourists, and what they paid to the park and city to close the road off and dog park was basically chump change. I think they used COS and all the other cities they are in this summer to rake in a lot of profits...... and this is not to mention that there is no licensing or safety inspections, much less monitoring of the water quality during the day...... The whole thing is about making a fast buck, not about water conservation or giving to charity. I give them credit for excellent marketing, however!

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by prairie chix on 08/22/2015 at 10:51 AM

Re: “Slipping away

Hey if a for-profit company wants to help a non-profit put on an event to raise money for charity, go for it. There are lots of these. It's no different than when (for example) Sky Sox Stadium hold a charity night: The charity fills seats, people have a good time for a good cause, and Sky Sox donates a portion of the proceeds in return. It's a good model, and one they use to benefit local groups quite often. But of course the city's expenses should be covered. And in this case, it sounds like they were. A little advice though - Next time, if you want to get the neighbors on board a little more, invite them out by offering them free tickets for their inconvenience, and assure them all litter will be picked up. That'll put most people at ease.

Heck, they can come set this up on my street anytime!

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Zen on 08/21/2015 at 4:34 AM

Re: “Case closed

Packshisass,run out of people to stalk on the Gazette,or they just stop paying you?Nobody has to answer your arrogant idiocy,putz.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by delete! on 08/20/2015 at 7:24 PM

Re: “Slipping away

TruB, it is true that there have been a rash of "for-profit" beer festivals lately, you are correct. If you went to Haunted Brew Fest or America On Tap, those just promise to give a "portion of the proceeds" to charity. There really isn't a requirement as to what percentage, only that you need to have a non-profit attached to your event.

Contrastingly, one local fest that you should totally support on the other hand is All Colorado Beer Fest, where the entire staff is volunteers and the organization itself is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ryan Hannigan on 08/20/2015 at 6:29 PM

Re: “Slipping away

Many of the beer events also make money, use volunteers and donate to local charities. I am not sure why at first this article is acting like it broke open some unknown scandal. I am not really sure why upadowna is trying to exist as a broker of out door events and it does make me wonder about their use of a non profit model.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by TruB on 08/20/2015 at 4:27 PM

Re: “10-year-old is seizure-free after one year of cannabis oil

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Posted by Oriel Martins on 08/19/2015 at 9:46 PM

Re: “10-year-old is seizure-free after one year of cannabis oil

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Posted by Becky Cole on 08/18/2015 at 6:22 PM

Re: “Case closed

the cops lied - what part of lies dont you understand

Posted by apathetic on 08/10/2015 at 7:42 PM

Re: “Springs and Comcast look at a new 10-year agreement

Well Natec16 Ill agree there not Comcast they dont do the things Comcast does especially charging you out the nose and then treating you like crap when you have a problem. I canceled Comcast and use streaming because of just that. No its not cable its better.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Rocky Smith on 08/06/2015 at 9:16 AM

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