Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Manitou Springs City Council OKs new agreement with Cog Railway

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2018 at 2:46 PM

click to enlarge The Cog has remained idle since October 2017 awaiting an upgrade that could cost $100 million. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The Cog has remained idle since October 2017 awaiting an upgrade that could cost $100 million.
Manitou Springs City Council approved a revised agreement with the Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway on Nov. 20, setting the stage for a 50-year pact that will enable the Cog to be refurbished for a 2021 opening, the Colorado Springs Business Journal reported.

From that report:
The cog’s owners, The Oklahoma Publishing Co., must now decide whether to spend nearly $100 million to rebuild, renovate and upgrade the railway, which has been closed since fall 2017. And under the terms of the new agreement, both parties must sign it by Nov. 30.

The agreement replaces one that the council approved June 26. That agreement was first publicly proposed two weeks earlier, drawing criticism from citizens that the process was rushed and lacked public input. Citizens also objected to the 50-year term of the agreement and said it placed too great a burden on Manitou Springs’ taxpayers.

Since then, negotiations have continued between the cog’s owners, who also own The Broadmoor, and Manitou’s team.

Under the original agreement, the city would have rebated a portion of the city’s 5 percent excise tax on ticket sales and all of the 3.8 percent use tax on the improvements. The cog offered to pay Manitou Springs $500,000 this year and a similar amount in 2019 to compensate for loss of revenue during construction....

The new agreement retains a cap on excise tax payments during the first 25 years of the agreement. After that, the cog would pay at least 3.8 percent on ticket sales and would remit the full 5 percent excise tax in any year in which ticket sales exceeded 375,000 — provisions intended to offset the effects of inflation and ridership growth. The cog also agreed to pay an additional $250,000 to the city in 2020, since the owners estimate the railway wouldn’t be able to reopen until spring 2021.
The Cog closed in October 2017 citing the need to revamp and replace the railway to Pikes Peak.

Oklahoma Publishing is owned by multi-billionaire Philip Anschutz, who also owns The Broadmoor resort.

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