Helen’s Q-and-A with City Hall
1. City “general fund” revenue growth since City TABOR passed (1991-2015)— 150%. That does NOT include many “special funds” accounts. For example:
It does NOT include tax increases for TOPS, PSST, and sneaky ones, like their end to the 3%-of-revenue collection fee retail businesses kept for their effort as unpaid sales tax agents for the City. They now must work “for free!” That meant a 3% increase in sales tax revenue; we never voted to allow that boost in net tax revenue.
It does NOT include RTA’s 1% ($75 million) road tax (C/S gets most of the cash).
It does NOT include 2016’s .62% ($50 million) yearly road tax. Helen asked in December for the 2016 estimate, but City Hall would not provide it because it was such a huge increase—an extra 46% over 1991 yearly general fund revenue!
2. TOTAL City Hall revenue growth since TABOR passed (1991-2015)--156%.
3. Total City debt growth (“including all other borrowing”)--89%. Note Memorial
Hospital is no longer included, so the debt increase is an even greater percentage once you delete that debt. The City refused an offer of $500 MILLION in CASH.
It sold Memorial to the state for half that amount, in installments over many years.
4. City Hall did not answer the question about voter approval; it (falsely) claimed approval was not needed to borrow, except two little districts and the 1999 bonds.
5. THE WORST OF ALL. Both the City Charter and state Constitution (TABOR) require voter approval for multi-year “financial obligations.” The Council and Mayor signed $460 MILLION in financial obligations to Pueblo County for the next 20 years. Helen Collins was the only dissenter. Now the Mayor and Gang of Eight on Council want to take our tax refunds for 20 years, PLUS pass a storm water tax like the one voters rejected in 2009 with Issue 300, PLUS raise any other tax they can, PLUS raise utility rates as much as they can--ALL to pay their huge illegal debt. Why are WE paying $460 million to benefit Pueblo County?
6. The City collected $45 MILLION in illegal “rain taxes” without voter approval
before voters rejected their theft by passing Issue 300 in 2009. How much of that
illegal loot did City Hall ever refund to us? ZERO.
7. Helen asked about our 8.25% total sales tax rate, which is higher than Denver.
City Hall said three large cities had a higher rate, but one is only a PART of Aurora in Douglas County; most of Aurora is in Arapahoe County. Another “city” is only a PART of Westminster in Adams County, not the rest in Jefferson County. So we have the second highest total (whole city) tax rate in Colorado. Why? Mayor Suthers raised about $400,000 to buy the 2015 election on issue 2-C, which raised the sales tax .62%. Who gave him that money? The road contractors who are now getting the contracts! They also bought his election as mayor with an equal amount of dirty money. The worst form of politics as usual puts special interests in charge.
8. Helen sought a list of all City positions with a yearly salary over $150,000. She specifically included “City enterprises,” which means CS Utilities. Note the “reply” specifically refused to include Utilities. That reply came from the Chief Financial Officer, paid $169,305 yearly. Is that proof of the CFO’s loyalty to the Gang of Eight? She knows who pays her (pays 88% more than Colorado’s governor makes!)
Several years ago, Helen asked for the number of Utilities employees making over $100,000. The answer, given at a Council meeting, was 249 employees! The CSU CEO makes close to $500,000. When he gambled on natural gas future prices, and bet wrong, that error cost CSU customers over $200 MILLION in higher gas rates. Was he fired? No, he got a “bonus.” Now he slips City Hall $32 million every year in CSU revenue without voter approval. That violates voter-approved Issue 300 from 2009. Council raises utility rates to pay for that illegal transfer. Do you see why City Hall doesn’t want anyone to know their dirty little secrets?
We pay higher water rates to pay over $3 BILLION in borrowing and interest for the SDS water project from Pueblo. It was not needed for current Springs residents. It was a subsidy for growth, sprawl, and developer profits. Developers and builders run City Hall. They donate to their puppets on Council. Helen won’t even ask for their campaign cash. That’s why they have tried since 2013 to get her off Council.
City Hall wants higher taxes,“fees,” and utility rates they can siphon off to fund their obsessive and irresponsible spending spree without voter approval. Only one Council member exposes City Hall corruption, resists this crazy spiral towards fiscal suicide, and fights for us--Helen Collins. That’s why we need her to stay.
Give ‘em Helen!