Mayor Yemi Mobolade presented a balanced 2024 City Budget to Colorado Springs City Council today. The General Fund budget for 2024 will be $428.3 million, which is $7.2 million more than the 2023 General Fund budget, or a 1.7% increase. The sales tax revenue budget is flat compared to the 2023 budget and a 2.5% increase over the 2023 end-of-year forecast. City Council’s role is to adopt the City budget, with or without amendment, and appropriate funds.
Attached is Mayor Yemi’s letter to City Council, which outlines how the 2024 Budget is focused on building support within government, building trust with our community, and addressing our most pressing and urgent issues in the areas of public safety, infrastructure and park maintenance.
2024 General Fund Highlights:
- Increased funding of $250,000 for capital costs associated with adding school zones near middle and high schools, with the goal of increasing pedestrian safety at all schools over the next several years. This increased cost will be offset by increased fee revenue.
- $8.7 million for salary increases for civilian and Police and Fire sworn employees; step and market increases for Police and Fire sworn, and pay for performance for civilian employees.
- $7.5 million for full-year funding for the portion of compensation and positions that were phased in during 2023, increased costs for Police and Fire sworn pensions, and for increased medical plan costs; net of decreases to worker’s comp and life insurance costs that have no impact on benefit to employees.
- Elevation of Housing and Community Vitality to a stand-alone department, along with the appointment of a Chief Housing Officer.
- $2.2 million of increased funding for insourcing fleet maintenance to increase the level of service and reduce turnaround times.
- $1.9 million of matched funding to leverage $15.4 million for critical infrastructure and transportation-related capital projects.
- $1 million of increased funding for Information Technology for updating backup technology at the Data Center and establishing a new Disaster Recovery location that will protect the City’s ability to continue to provide services in the event of extreme weather events, a cybersecurity attack or other disaster.
- $1.3 million of continued funding for the City’s Americans with Disabilities Act operating and capital projects to maintain and improve accessibility.
- $500,000 increased funding to address Information Technology core infrastructure, applications, and cybersecurity.
- $2.0 million to fund increased rates for insurance premiums, fuel, and utilities, as well as contractual increases, including animal law enforcement services.
- Increased funding of $230,000 in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services to provide 1.5 positions to provide school programming at Rock Ledge Ranch, additional patrols at Catamount Reservoir during its closure, and additional seasonal staffing at Sertich Ice Center. These costs are directly offset by increased revenue.
- Increase of $52,100 for additional services and facility maintenance at Deerfield and Hillside Community Centers (offset by increased revenue).
- Increased funding of $1.3 million in Public Works to provide two positions for traffic signal maintenance, a result of an intergovernmental agreement with El Paso County, and for six positions related to traffic control and work in the rights-of-way for telecommunications projects. Each of these positions is directly offset by increased revenue.
- $170,000 of additional funding to Mountain Metro Transit for increased contract costs to sustain transit services, and $180,000 increased funding for security at the Downtown Transit Center.
Mayor Yemi also notes in his letter that during 2023 sales tax revenue has flattened and in some months decline, and that is expected to continue into 2024, with only a small, anticipated increase compared to 2023 forecasted sales tax.
“The cost of covering our current commitments will exceed the amount of revenue that we anticipate collecting next year,” said Mayor Yemi. “Accommodating increases in unavoidable expenses has resulted in the need to include reductions in several areas of the budget. There are reductions included for citywide expenditure items, in addition to all City departments identifying a 3.4% reduction in operational spending. We aim to continue providing the highest level of service possible to residents, businesses and visitors. Therefore, it is necessary to include a one-time judicious use of reserves, which is reflected as rebudgeted revenue of $10 million. This keeps our unrestricted fund balance at approximately 17%, which remains above the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) recommended target of 16.7%. These are difficult decisions. All options for balancing the budget were explored to minimize the impact of these reductions to our level of service to our community and to our departments.”
The City will also cap its 2024 property tax rate, providing relief to residents from increased property taxes.
The complete proposed 2024 budget is available at coloradosprings.gov/budget.
Upcoming Important Budget Dates:
Oct 2 Mayor distributes 2024 City Budget
Oct 6 & 12 Review 2024 budget document with Council Budget Committee
Oct 16 Council 2024 Budget Work Session
Oct 23 Public Hearing on 2024 Budget
Oct 30 Council 2024 Budget Markup Session
Nov 14 1st Reading 2024 Budget Appropriation Ordinance
Nov 28 2nd Reading 2024 Budget Appropriation Ordinance