Treasurer City of Castle Pines North
This column will provide some additional detail on the City budget in light of the election results of November 4th. As a first matter, the vote does not endanger the funding of City services but will delay efforts to reduce layers of government and costs because integration with the CPN Metro District will be more complex and require more time.
Prior to the November 4th election, the City prepared two draft budgets: one if Question 2D passed and one if the question failed to pass. Both budgets provided for all basic City services such as law enforcement, public works, planning and zoning, and management. The difference in the budgets will reflect service levels in some areas. Cities in Colorado cannot run a deficit and must reduce levels of service to available revenues. The alternative budget accomplishes that task with revenues of $3.8 million and expenditures of $3.8 million, including reserve set asides.
The vote in CPN reflected the generally cautious mood on Election Day in Colorado where all but a very few tax questions failed statewide. The City had proposed Question 2D as a mechanism to reduce the tax burden on CPN residents by making a technical change to one tax question approved overwhelmingly in 2007. The change would have allowed quicker integration of the services between the City and the CPN Metro District and reduction in layers of government and costs.
The wording was, unfortunately, confusing. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) required that the ballot question be phrased as imposing a new tax and requires what many have termed convoluted language. The net tax impact to homeowners would NOT have changed under the question. Unfortunately, there was a considerable degree of confusion in the community and the question failed.
On the revenue side of the City, all revenue sources are in place and collections are coming to the City from sales tax and fees. Property tax payments for law enforcement will start to arrive in early March 2009, when the first payment is due for law enforcement to Douglas County. Shareback revenues from Douglas County and the State will come at various times in 2009. The shareback revenues were previously paid to the County and were not required to be used in Castle Pines North.
As a small example, the City is now entitled to more than $90,000 in parks shareback revenue from the Colorado lottery. That money has already been planned for use in the new park for Lagae Ranch.
The revised budget reduces expenditures to available revenues. The key areas of change from the earlier budget involve less customer service to citizens, a reduction in capital projects to fix streets, and reduced office and meeting space. Law enforcement is unaffected because it is funded from a separate 4.5 mill tax authorized by voters in 2007.
The revised budget is available on the City’s website at www.cpngov.com. Please feel free to send any questions to Contact by email .