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Monday, October 5, 2015

City budget grows 3.6 percent

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 2:44 PM

click to enlarge Suthers: 2016 budget would be bigger than this year, but more is needed. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Suthers: 2016 budget would be bigger than this year, but more is needed.
The city of Colorado Springs' budget is set to grow by more than $9 million next year under Mayor John Suthers' 2016 budget proposal, to $268.1 million.

Highlights from a news release:
 Essentially reconstruct the Stormwater Enterprise fund and commit $16 million from the City for storm water maintenance activities and projects (with an additional $3 million from Colorado Springs Utilities making total stormwater expenditures at $19 million per year).

· $840,000 in funding through General Fund and grant funds to implement a Body Worn Camera Program at the CSPD, which will improve transparency and accountability in contacts between CSPD and the public.

· $814,000 increased funding from the City’s General Fund to Mountain Metro Transit – increasing funding from $4.3 million to $5.1 million, to bring the City closer to the $5.7 million maintenance of effort commitment made in 2004 when the PPRTA was created.

· The first phase of a two-year phase-in of a Business Personal Property Tax (BPPT) Credit Program. For 2016, the tax credit will be equal to one-half the amount due on 2016 Property tax statements. This program is designed to reward and encourage business expansion and relocation – making the City’s business tax environment more competitive and equitable across industries.

· $400,000 for architectural and engineering plans for a new Sand Creek Police Substation to replace the current station which will allow the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) to more effectively provide essential public safety services to the southeast part of the City.

· $250,000 from the General Fund, each year for two years, to fund the first Comprehensive Plan for the city in 15 years – a plan that will be relevant to today’s economic markets, and land use planning principles which will reflect the City’s vision to become a more progressive, mixed-use, revitalized and multi-modal community.

· $75,000 funding for the Regional Business Alliance (RBA) – the community partner primarily responsible for business recruitment and retention.

· $55,000 funding ($27,500 General Fund, $27,500 Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax (LART) Fund) for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – an important community partner that assists with small business development and growth.

· Unavoidable increases for healthcare costs, workers’ compensation costs, and contract costs.
Suthers also sent a cover letter with his budget to City Council, which contained a little error of history.

In it, he says, " 2009 the voters of Colorado Springs expressed their displeasure with the stormwater fee and in 2010 the City Council voted 5 to 4 to defund the Stormwater Enterprise."

Actually, that Council vote took place on Dec. 8, 2009, to "phase out stormwater enterprise by Dec. 31, 2009," according to the minutes of that meeting. In any event, the fee was rescinded, and the city hasn't had a dedicated source of flood control funding since.

Here's the letter from Suthers to Council about the 2016 budget proposal:

Suthers' budget doesn't include the $50 million the city would receive if a .62 of a percent sales tax hike passes in the November 3 election. The money would go toward road repairs.

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