Mayor John Suthers had a list of 14 priorities he wanted to accomplish in 2018.
The list included items such as implementing collection of stormwater revenue authorized in 2017 by Ballot Issue 2a, revising the annexation agreement for the Banning Lewis Ranch and increased funding for police and firefighters.
“We’ve completed the vast majority of those, and four others are underway,” Suthers said.
What enabled the city to accomplish so many of Suthers’ goals was healthy sales and use tax revenue this year that has amounted to about a 7 percent increase for the first 10 months of the year compared with the same period of 2017.
Riding the crest of the local business boom, the city enjoyed the following increases in net revenue through Nov. 1:
2018 2017 % growth
2% sales tax $140.1M $131.0M 6.9%
2% use tax $8.44M $7.87M 7.2%
0.62% 2C road tax $45.96M $42.98M 6.9%
0.4% Public Safety sales
& use tax $29.63M $27.69M 7.0%
0.1% TOPS tax $7.40M $6.92M 6.9%
Revenue from the city’s 2 percent lodgers tax and 1 percent auto rental tax , collectively known as the LART tax, also grew this year. Collections from these taxes funds Visit Colorado Springs, the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, and a wide range of tourism and community events.
After expenditures of about $7.4 million, the LART fund is estimated to finish the year with a robust ending balance of more than $1.2 million.
LART revenue for the year to date through Nov. 1 amounted to:
City-owned major attractions showed a robust increase in visitors during the year, as they have each year since 2014. Below are figures for annual visitors for three of the most popular local attractions:
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018*
Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
454,659 876,474 1,018,439 1,201,638 1,217,543
Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain
345,701 415,092 482,963 498,722 582,928
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
61,935 64,826 76,327 90,397 109,775
*Through Dec. 12
Accomplishing one of Suthers’ priorities, the city began collecting stormwater fees July 1. The city had billed about $2.03 million in residential stormwater fees and about $1.9 million in non-residential fees through September.
The city will collect an estimated $7.9 million in stormwater revenue this year and about $15.8 million next year.
For more about the city’s year and looks back at other areas, including cybersecurity, real estate, education, aerospace and health care, see the Dec. 28 issue of the Business Journal.