Mayor Bach, Council Revisit 2012 Budget

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach and the City Council used their monthly meeting to revisit and review the first quarter of the 2012 budget. Wednesday's meeting was held at Fire Station 18, in the northwest corner of Colorado Springs.

Chief Of Staff, Laura Neumann, also announced that the mayor’s office will be asking for additional appropriations at Monday’s informal Council Session. That will include $1 million for the fire department, $1.2 million for the police department and $985,000 for parks, planning and public works.

Fire Chief Richard Brown said that, if approved, the appropriation to his department will be used toward upgrading breathing equipment and purchasing a new apparatus for Station 21. The new apparatus for Station 21 will cost a total of $1.5 million, with a third of that coming in 2012.

Police Chief Peter Carey also spoke to explain his department’s requests. He said that 60 percent of CSPD’s vehicle fleet is past the recommended retirement age and that some of the money would go toward replacing 50 to 60 vehicles this year. The remaining money would go toward building repairs, like a new roof at the 20-year-old Police Operations Center.

The requests from the Mayor’s office also include funding to mill and repave sections of Voyager Parkway, Deerfield Hills Rd., Goddard St., and Airport Road. The Airport Rd. project, which would stretch from Circle to Chelton, is estimated to cost $225,000. The project on Voyager would cost about $500,000.

Neuman requested the City Council plan a first vote on the appropriations request for Tuesday.

According to information presented by the mayor’s office at the meeting, Colorado Springs is estimated to be about $1.2 million below the TABOR cap for this time of year. That cap limits the total amount of revenue the city can collect.

Still, the presentation also included positive reviews of the fund balance. The city finished 2011 with a total fund balance of $50.8 million. At this point in the year, the available balance is equivalent to over 17 percent of the 2012 Original Expenditure Budget. That constitutes an increase of several percentage points.

In part, the fund increase is attributed to less spending. The Mayor says the city is currently $5.7 million below budgeted 2011 spending. He credits that to good staff decisions.

Based on the city’s latest models, overall revenue during 2012 could be up by $2.1 million. They’re being cautious, however, saying rising fuel costs could impact consumer spending in the coming months.