Improvement fund forecast bleak

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Projections forecast the money available in 2014 for Englewood’s projects like replacing roofs and upgrading buildings will fall well short of the requests for funding.

Mike Flaherty, deputy city manager, briefed the city council on the 2014 public improvement fund budget during the Sept. 16 study session.

“The budget for the 2014 public improvement fund is estimate at about $2.8 million, with the majority of that money going to continuing maintenance of city streets, buildings and technology systems,” Flaherty said. “However, we currently have requests for PIF projects that would cost more than $5 million.”

He said projects recommended for funding included payments for equipment obtained through lease-purchase agreements, regular maintenance of streets, bridges and traffic signals, for building maintenance and a new web-based sales tax collection system, and purchase of safety equipment for the fire department.

Flaherty said there are additional requests for projects that would cost more than $2 million. Some of those projects include replacing the deck on the Dartmouth Avenue bridge over the South Platte River and upgrade of police locker room and carpeting replacement at the Englewood Civic Center.

“We will evaluate and establish priorities for the unfunded projects,” he said. “The projects would be done in the order of priority if funding becomes available.”

Dollars for the public improvement fund come from three sources: building use tax, vehicle use tax and the city portion of state road and bridge funds.

Frank Gryglewicz, finance director, said the largest single source of revenue for the public improvement fund is the building use tax.

“The building use tax is paid on construction materials,” he said. “The formula used to establish the tax is to determine 50 percent of the construction material costs and multiply that by 3.5 percent.”

Increased development brings increases in the building use tax. In 2012, the city received about $800,000, and this year, the building use tax is expected to be about $1.8 million. The forecast for 2014 is about $1.5 million.

The other two sources of income are essentially consistent, with the city receiving about $1.3 million a year from vehicle use tax and about $200,000 a year from the state road and bridge fund, Gryglewicz said.

The public improvement fund issue was raised again at the Sept. 23 city council study session.

“I am concerned the public improvement fund requests includes about $3 million in projects not scheduled to be done in 2014,” Councilmember Rick Gillit said. “I would like the city to explore the possibility of extending the life of bonds to provide additional money for the PIF.”

City officials and councilmembers talked about the issue. While there currently isn’t an issue of bonds that could have life extended to provide money for the public improvement plans, the agreement was to continue to discuss the issue and explore the possibility of designating other sources of revenues available for the PIF.

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