There’s also a lot to be concerned about, and a few surprises.
Thanks to a recovering economy, general fund expenditures will increase by $11 million. More money will go to stormwater, roads and bridges, pension and health care, expanded police services, code enforcement and reinstating some evening transit service. Funds also will be held for added compensation (pending study results) and/or emergency capital improvements.
That study, underway for more than six months, is intended to create a sustainable salary model for city employees, based on the private and public sectors.
Multiple initiatives are directed toward making city government more business friendly, as well as finding efficiencies within budget constraints. Initiatives include:
“It’s all right in line with the work we’re doing,” said Council President Pro-Tem Jan Martin. “He wants the work finished by next June. I feel very comfortable that we’ll meet that deadline.”
Changing CSU’s ownership could impact future budgets dramatically. Budget impacts for 2013 include:
That’s a total of $35.5 million, almost twice as much as the $19.35 million that the city expects to collect in property taxes next year.
Bach didn’t shy away from politics in a letter to Council accompanying the budget documents.
“It is essential,” he wrote, “that the voters approve an extension of the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority sales tax at the November ballot for critical regional transportation projects and approve next April a TOPS measure allowing more funding for parks maintenance.”
He also suggested that Utilities partner with the general fund on stormwater.
But not everyone got what they wanted.
Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau requested its current funding level, 66.6 percent of total revenue from LART (lodging and auto rental tax) be increased to 80 percent, or $3.1 million. Bach nixed the request, keeping CVB at two-thirds. The CVB did get an added $100,000 for the “Waldo Canyon Fire Welcome Back Campaign.”
Some received unexpected funding.
Colorado Springs Philharmonic will receive $45,000 from the city’s one-third share of LART to revive the summer concert series, recently confined to a single event at the Air Force Academy.
This year, says Philharmonic CEO Nathan Newbrough, the city will be a presenting sponsor for the series, which has a total budget of $275,000. Other sponsors include El Pomar Foundation and Anschutz Foundation.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the city,” said Newbrough.
Regional Business Alliance (formerly Chamber and EDC) will receive $70,000, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb $25,000, and Pikes Peak Marathon $8,000.