Facts about Pueblo West Streets
Where does the money come from?
Approximately $8 million in revenue comes from a variety of sources to support the general fund. Those revenues support services such as Streets and Roads, Fire Department, Parks, Administration, Capital Equipment and debt payments.
The district receives approximately $4.8 million in property taxes. However your entire property tax bill does not stay within the district. For a residential home value at $315,000, the property tax bill is about $2,200. Of the $2,200 only $440 is provided to the district. Of that, approximately $110 is for Public Works. A business property tax bill can be 10 times higher than a residential property tax bill.
Miscellaneous taxes are to the order of $2.1 million. However, $1.5 million is through the IGA with the county for the Highway User Tax Fund (HUTF). HUTF collects monies from gas tax, registrations, etc. and the monies are put in a state pot, then reallocated to each city and county based on several factors. The money spent on the above items within the district, does not necessarily stay in the district.
In general terms, Streets and Roads utilizes 100% of the HUTF funds, engineering fees and revenues obtained via an intergovernmental agreement with the Pueblo County for a county imposed retail marijuana sales tax. The remaining balance generally constitutes about 25% of the property tax received. All other sources of revenue come from Investments, rental and lease income, land sales, grants, and Park and Recreation fees.
What does this all mean?
If you own property, you pay 20% of your property tax bill to the District. Of that 20% that goes to the District General Fund, approximately 25% goes to Public Works. In addition, nearly 40% of Pueblo West’s residents property tax bill goes to the District 70 School District, even if you don’t have children.
If you own a vehicle or two, you pay for how you operate the vehicle (gas, registration, tickets, etc.). All that money goes to the state of Colorado, then it is redistributed to the state, counties, and cities based on various formulas and calculations.
In general, all the revenue sources do not come from a typical District’s residents pocketbook. The other revenues are fees. In other words, if you don’t use a swimming pool, you don’t have to pay.
In general, all the revenue sources do not come from a typical District’s residents pocketbook. The other revenues are fees. In other words, if you don’t use a swimming pool, you don’t have to pay. However, people outside of the district also contribute to the use of services and revenue. All sales taxes go to the State and County only. That’s 3.9% added to most purchases within the district. Outside the district, such as the city of Pueblo, you can pay nearly 7.9% for the same purchase. However, starting in 2018, approximately $250,000 from the 1% County sales tax on recreational marijuana goes to Public Works. Past years, the funds were in the form of in-kind services.
The Tax would affect most purchases made within the District boundaries by residents AND contractors, visitors, Pueblo City residents, etc. However, purchases made outside of Pueblo West already tax more!! The existing revenues, budgets, services, operations, etc. would generally remain untouched. The additional funding would provide funding for more resources to the preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration of our streets.
Pueblo West Roads
How does the road tax affect residents?
The road tax leaves all other revenues the same, except the sales tax increase that would apply to most purchases made within the District boundaries. These are purchases by contractors, visitors, City of Pueblo residents, current Pueblo West residents, etc. Businesses continue to open within the district. More and more you will be able to drive shorter distances to the services you need and pay less taxes than anywhere in the region.
What will the road tax be used for?
The additional road tax funds would be utilized to save our streets. Currently the funds used for manpower, equipment, contracted services and materials just isn’t enough to properly maintain over 400 miles of District roadways. The additional funding would provide funding for more resources for the preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration of our streets. Though the majority of the roadway network is residential, the first priorities would be to make sure the main quarters used by visitors and businesses are brought into a good condition as they are the greatest costs and assets. However the well-traveled residential roads will not be forgotten. Plans and project list are in the works. It will take time, but getting the funding needed to give each of the roads that care they need for the continued and increasing use of our roads at decades to come.
Why are we doing this?
On April 22, 2017 Pueblo West Metropolitan District held the first of many community meetings aimed at engaging residents on Pueblo West roads in response to the 2016 community survey results. The survey identified roads as the community’s most highly prioritized service, and the service with the lowest level of satisfaction. This level of satisfaction is directly related to funding and resources that fall well short of industry standards.
All roadways deteriorate with time and use, and as Pueblo West residents know, our roads are no exception. The Asphalt Paving Institute states that proper paved road maintenance requires a two inch overlay every 15 to 30 years, as well as patching, crack sealing, and chip sealing in the interim. Proper maintenance for gravel roads is to lay four inches of new gravel every five to seven years, in addition to regular grading to reduce wash boarding and washout. For the past five years, the Construction Cost Index in Colorado has increased by 19%, significantly reducing the amount of road maintenance Pueblo West can do within its current budget.
With over 400 miles of roads in Pueblo West, it is a formidable and expensive task to keep them up to industry standards. Asphalt roads account for 208 miles, and to overlay all 208 miles it would require overlaying 8.32 miles a year for 25 years, then starting again and continuing into perpetuity. With current construction material costs, it could cost $2.5 million each year to accomplish. But to properly maintain a paved road, it should be chip sealed at some point between each new asphalt overlay. It would cost $200,000 per year to chip seal every mile of paved road in the District in perpetuity. The balance of road surface in Pueblo West is gravel, and to maintain the industry standard maintenance of these roads, it requires a 4 inch overlay of 19.5 miles of roadway every year in perpetuity, at an annual cost of $600,000. This means, to maintain industry standards, it would cost residents $3.3 million strictly for resurfacing maintenance of gravel roads.
What happens now?
The $3.3 million does not cover labor costs, snow removal, sweeping, pot hole filling, road striping, or storm repair, nor does it include new capital projects, expansions, or new paved roads. Labor costs and these tasks account for virtually all of the current $2.7 million Public Works budget. Therefore, to maintain roads at industry standards at the current market rate, it would cost Pueblo West residents $6.0 million. Since 2001, the Public Works budget has remained relatively constant at an average of $2.7 million. All significant increases in the Public Works budget were due to periodic capital improvements.
What options do residents have? Residents have options that range from improving roads, to returning all Pueblo West roads to gravel. If residents want to improve the roads in Pueblo West there is value in reconsidering a 1% sales tax that would produce $1.6 million in new revenue solely dedicated to street and road maintenance, significantly increasing the Public Works budget allowing for more miles maintained annually, and accomplishing road projects that are long overdue. A 1% sales tax for roads would allow for approximately three miles of roadway to be paved each year, 15 miles chip sealed each year, and all completely funded through sales tax.
If residents want to remove road maintenance from the Pueblo West Metro District’s service plan, they can petition the Board of Directors to move towards abolishing the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Pueblo County, effectively giving the roads back to Pueblo County. This would save the District millions in the long run, but at the same time, sole responsibility and local control for Pueblo West roads would be reallocated from the Board of Directors to the Board of County Commissioners. Fifty-nine miles of Pueblo West roads are currently below the county’s road standard and therefore unacceptable to the county. This means Pueblo West would still be responsible for maintaining and improving those 59 miles until they reach the acceptable standard and can be taken over by the county. At a cost of $1.2 million per year, for 10 years. Therefore Pueblo West would not see a budget improvement from giving the roads back to the county for about 10 years once all Pueblo West roads are accepted by the county for maintenance and improvement.