Black Hawk City Council sets device fee increase
The Black Hawk City Council increased its device fee taxes during its regular meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 211 Church Street. The Council approved a device tax increase of up to $300 per device.
The increase was approved by voters in the city’s Nov. 5 special election. The City levies a tax on casino devices such as slot machines and card tables.
The Council then approved an ordinance imposing the device tax increase of $195 per device for 2014. Mayor David Spellman said the ordinance was consistent with discussions they had with casino staff members.
The Council received an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of one or more series of its device tax revenue bonds to finance water, street, and recreational facilities within
the city; providing details concerning the bonds; providing for the levy of device taxes to pay the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on the bonds. City Manager Jack Lewis said the short version is—this is the formal ordinance allowing the City to move forward with issuing $22 million in bonding.
The ordinance uses the increase in device fees to fund capital improvements, economic development, debt service, and core city services. The ordinance asks if the City’s debt should be increased up to $22 million, with a maximum repayment cost not to exceed $50 million and with the proceeds of the debt to be for financing all or any part of the costs of acquiring, constructing or installing water rights acquisition, a water treatment plant, water line improvements, recreational facilities on and adjacent to Maryland Mountain; and street and related infrastructure improvements on Gregory Street.
The Council approved the ordinance and approved an agreement to place the bonds with D.A. Davidson of Denver. Lewis said this was the agreement the Council had discussed. The company has been working with the City to market its bonds, and their rates have been very strong. Their fee, 1½ %, is consistent with others in the area. “Davidson did a good job putting this together,” he said.
The Council approved a resolution to encourage diversification of the city’s local economy by extending the waiver of taxes and impact fees for the development of hotels and other amenities and extending the waiver of a use tax on other renovation projects. According to the resolution, the City believes its current financial success is the best evidence that low taxes and fees as well as rebates and incentives is the surest way to continue to have strong, sustainable revenues.
“The City has determined that a reasonable tax at both the state and local level is essential to provide a stable and predictable environment for the continued development of the gaming industry, which in turn will allow the City to repay the debt that it has incurred to rebuild the
City, continue employment opportunities throughout the City and provide long-term opportunities to the residents of the City, Gilpin County and the State of Colorado that did not exist before gaming.”
The City desires to continue to diversify its economy by attempting to encourage the development of hotel rooms and other amenities, which will reinforce many of the City’s goals. The City also seeks to encourage the updating of existing amenities within the City, to reinforce the City’s desire to be a resort destination.
“The Mayor and Board of Aldermen hereby resolve to forever waive and forego the payment of any use tax otherwise due and payable, and the payment of police and fire impact fees that would otherwise be due and payable for the construction of a hotel project consisting of at least 400 hotel rooms within the City, provided that a completed land use application is received on or before March 31, 2016, or for the construction of a hotel project consisting of at least 50 hotel rooms within the City, provided that a completed land use application is received on or before March 31, 2016.
“The City also will waive taxes for any other commercial project that includes at a minimum the renovation and expansion of gaming space on an existing licensed gaming premises, as determined at the sole discretion of the City Council, provided that a completed building permit application is received on or before March 31, 2016. All applicants must be within the Silver Dollar Metropolitan District or the Black Hawk Business Improvement District.”
The Council selected Elite Environmental Services, Inc., for asbestos removal at 260 Gregory Street, formerly known as the Winners Haven/Black Forest Inn. Four companies submitted bids for the project and Elite Environmental had the lowest bid at $65,550.
The highest bid came in at $189,955. Elite hopes to start on December 19 and should be finished in about three weeks.
City Manager Lewis requested that the Council authorize a 2 percent bonus to recognize City staff for their hard work. Staff members were essential in getting the word out about the bond election, which was approved by a wide margin. They have also moved other projects along and done a good job.
Mayor Spellman said a good measure of the City’s success is the City’s employees. The Council authorized the bonuses for City staff.
The next meeting of the Black Hawk City Council will be at 3 p.m. on January 8, 2014, at 211 Church Street.
Black Hawk City Council approves 2014 budget
The City of Black Hawk City Council approved a $24.6 million budget for the 2014 year and levied 2013 taxes during its regular meeting on Wednesday, December 4, at 211 Church Street. The 2014 budget, with a total revenue projection of $24.6 million for all funds, reflects a decrease of 3.2 percent compared to the estimated revenue for 2013.
“We project 2014 Gaming Tax revenue to be flat compared to 2013,” staff wrote in background information. “Device Fee revenue is budgeted to be up slightly with roughly 8,500 devices currently in use to maintain into 2014. City staff expects sales tax revenue to be flat for 2014.”
The 2014 budget includes no increase in water rates or device fees and no increase in property tax revenue, including total expenditures (excluding inter-fund transfers) of $42.2 million. No new positions have been proposed for 2014. The 2014 Budget also includes funding for an estimated 2% adjustment pending market comparisons and funding for a City-wide bonus of up to 3%.
Other items of note in the 2014 Budget include increasing the Gilpin Ambulance funding to approximately $570,000; Council Discretionary at $50,000; plus funding for a potential bonus, and maintaining the Sales Tax rebate to non-casino establishments. Included in Marketing is $50,000 for potential joint marketing with the casinos. The General Fund is budgeted to transfer $8.5 million to the Water Fund, $1.35 million to the Debt Service Fund, and $12 million to the Capital Projects Fund.
The Council also approved an ordinance levying general property taxes for the
Year 2013 to help defray the costs of government for the 2014 budget year. The amount of money necessary to balance the budget for general operating purposes from property tax revenue is $8,600, and the 2013 valuation for assessment for the City is $217,681,769.
For the purpose of meeting all general operating expenses of the City during the 2014 budget year, a tax of .0394 mills is levied on each dollar of the total valuation for assessment of all taxable property within the City of Black Hawk for the year 2013.
The Council reviewed an ordinance adjusting Council compensation. Each member of the City Council will be compensated during his or her term of office in the amount of $650 for each month or portion thereof. In addition, each member of the City Council will receive all insurance benefits afforded to full-time employees of the City, or in the alternative, any member of the City Council may choose to receive the cash equivalent of the above-referenced insurance benefits for each month or portion.
The members of the City Council also will be entitled to participate in the City of Black Hawk retirement program benefits, including the City’s 401(a) and 457 programs or receive the cash equivalent of the retirement benefit. The Council approved the ordinance.
The next meeting of the Black Hawk City Council will be at 3 p.m. on December 11 at 211 Church Street.
Black Hawk City Council approves marijuana moratorium
The City of Black Hawk City Council heard a proposal for a moratorium on retail and medical marijuana during its regular meeting on Wednesday, December 4, at 211 Church Street. Staff presented an ordinance renewing a temporary moratorium on marijuana businesses and marijuana social clubs in Black Hawk.
The City of Black Hawk recently allowed the retail sale of personal use and medical marijuana in the City, and allowed the same as a use by right within the City’s History Appreciation Recreation Destination Zoning District (HARD). The City is commencing the process of improving, and in part, expanding and relocating Gregory Street, where the HARD District is located. Staff believes it necessary to study the impacts of allowing the retail sale of personal use and medical marijuana further within the HARD District as it relates to the improvements contemplated for Gregory Street.
In addition, the language of Colorado Amendment 64 provides in part that the consumption of marijuana shall not be conducted openly and publicly. The City finds that it is not certain whether the personal use of marijuana within the meaning of Amendment 64 contemplates the open and public consumption of marijuana for personal use in a place of assembly that allows members and their guests and any other persons to consume marijuana, called “Marijuana Social Clubs.”
The City desires to further study the potential impact of Marijuana Social
Clubs as it relates to the potential impact on the City in general and potentially on the improvements contemplated for Gregory Street. The City similarly desires to study the appropriate location for retail uses associated with personal use of marijuana, and therefore in the proposed Ordinance, determines such retail uses are and shall be a prohibited use within the City for a period of one year from the date of the adoption of the Ordinance to allow for such study.
The Ordinance imposes a moratorium on the use of property as a marijuana club in any zoning district in the City. The Ordinance also imposes a moratorium on the approval of new marijuana-related businesses, including the processing and approval of all applications for permits and licenses by the City for medical marijuana and personal use marijuana businesses of any kind.
Before the expiration of the imposed moratorium, the City staff, working with the City attorney, shall prepare appropriate regulations, if any, concerning such uses for consideration by the Board of Aldermen. The Council approved the ordinance.
The Council approved the acquisition of property owned by M&D, LLC, at 380 and 370 Gregory Street. The City possesses the power of eminent domain and wishes to acquire the property. The property is to be acquired for the construction, expansion and improvement of Gregory Street, a City street and roadway, thereby providing City streets and roadways that are necessary and essential to the City’s ability to provide such public facilities.
The next meeting of the Black Hawk City Council will be at 3 p.m. on December 11 at 211 Church Street.