Yesterday, the Denver District Court ruled that the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority can levy a 1 percent sales-and-use tax on Walmart’s store in Fountain, even though Fountain annexed the property in 2014. Fountain is not a PPRTA member.
A news release from the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments said the court concluded that the annexation did not remove the property from the PPRTA boundary and that the statutory procedure to remove it from PPRTA was not followed.
“We are pleased that the court supported the PPRTA boundaries in an area where much work had already been done,” said Colorado Springs City Council President Merv Bennett, who is the chairman of the PPRTA. “With this determination, we hope to continue focusing on our work throughout the region.”
The retail giant sued in 2016 because it didn’t think it should be required to collect the PPRTA tax — 1 percent on all retail sales in the region for transportation projects. Fountain approved a .75 cent tax in 2009 for bus routes in Fountain and did not join the PPRTA.
Voters in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, El Paso County and Green Mountain Falls created the PPRTA boundaries and approved the sales-tax levy in 2004, the CSBJ reported in 2016. Of the money raised, 55 percent goes to a specific list of infrastructure projects; 35 percent pays for maintenance, while the balance helps pay for Mountain Metro Transit. In 2012, voters extended the tax to 2024.Under current law, property within existing boundaries of any rural transportation authority can be annexed by a non-RTA member like the city of Fountain, and the RTA sales tax would continue to be levied.
Before Walmart built a new retail store and a Sam’s Club, the land was undeveloped and within the PPRTA’s boundaries. When Walmart expressed interest in building, Fountain annexed 432.5 acres, including the 99 acres that are part of the South Academy Highlands retail development.