Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchinson and City Manager Darin Atteberry began their State of the City address on a positive note by applauding Fort Collinsâ€™ recent recognition as one of Money Magazineâ€™s best places to live.
â€œItâ€™s the people who live here and who engage whole-heartedly in making Fort Collins one of the nationâ€™s best places to live, work and play,â€ Atteberry said.
The looming cloud that is the economy, however, was never far from anyoneâ€™s mind.
Hutchinson said Fort Collins has been resilient despite the nationâ€™s struggling economy.
The cityâ€™s 8.1 percent unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 9.1, as well as Coloradoâ€™s average of 8.7 percent.
The city plans to improve in several areas through state and federal grants, as well as money gained from 2B â€“â€“ a citywide .85 percent sales tax increase enacted this year.
These projects include:
- $27.5 million to reconstruct the I-25/392 Interchange,
- $82 million to build the Mason Corridor,
- $34 million to transform our utilities with Smart Grid technology,
- $11 million to kick start FortZED, Fort Collinsâ€™ Zero Energy District,
- $63 million to revitalize North College Avenue, and
- $24 million to build a new Fort Collins Discovery Museum.
â€œThese grants and projects are possible only because of the strategic leveraging of city dollars and private investment,â€ Hutchinson said.
The 2B sales tax will bring in $18.7 million this year, which, according to Hutchinson and Atteberry, will be used to improve the overall quality of life in the city. The money will be divided as follows:
- Fifty percent will go to transportation, such as repairing roads, fixing bridges, making Fort Collins more bike-friendly and reinvesting in the cityâ€™s infrastructure. The current level of transit service, along with Dial-A-Ride night service, will be preserved.
- Thirty percent will go to public safety, emphasizing downtown and neighborhood safety by hiring more patrol officers and detectives.
- Ten percent will go to parks and recreation to maintain parks and preserve facilities, such as the Mulberry pool and youth and senior programs.
- Ten percent will go to other community priorities, such as economic health and the environment.
Janet Meyer, a resident of southeast Fort Collins, said she believes the money from 2B will successfully maintain and add to the services of the city.
Close to her home is a lot thatâ€™s been empty for years.
â€œFor six years Iâ€™ve been hoping that maybe it can be turned into a park,â€ she said.
Funds from 2B will also support the Climate Action Plan by providing solar recycling bins and composting units downtown. A new program will be launched that offers voluntary in-home sustainability assessments and recommendations.
The city intends to hold sustainability as a higher priority to meet both City Council and the communityâ€™s expectations.
â€œAs we look ahead, the state of our city is strong,â€ Hutchinson said. â€œThe future of Fort Collins is bright and full of promise. Together we can fully achieve that promise.â€
Staff writer Courtney Riley can be reached at email@example.com.
More on 2B
- 2B is a citywide .85 percent sales tax increase
- Was put into effect Jan. 1 and will continue for the next 10 years
- Will bring in $18.7 million this year