Front Range economies outperform West Slope

Front Range cities and town are faring a lot better than their Western Slope counterparts, according to a recent survey of Colorado’s municipalities.

More than 80 percent of large Front Range cities saw increased tax revenues in 2012, compared to 54 percent for Western Slope municipalities and 18 percent for those on the Eastern Plains, according to the Colorado Municipal League’s 2013 State of Our Cities and Towns report.

Taken as a whole, the report shows that 47 percent of all Colorado cities and towns saw increased revenues in 2012, while 31 percent saw no major change over 2011.

That’s a complete reversal of 2011, when 46 percent of municipalities reported lower revenues over the prior year.

Compared to the annual National League of Cities surveys, Colorado fared much better. Nationally, all cities and town on average saw a 3.9 percent decrease in revenues in 2012 compared to the prior year.

But while that’s good news for the state, the survey revealed that much still needs to be done in economic recovery, said Sam Mamet, executive director of the league.

“There is a cloud that hands over this silver lining,” Mamet said. “The recession has resulted in five years of deferred maintenance and replacement for everything from police cars to street repair.”

The recession has caused a backlog in needed infrastructure projects:

■ 59 percent of Colorado cities reported unfunded street projects.

■ 35 percent have postponed public building improvements.

■ 33 percent have unfunded water and sewer projects.

■ 24 percent need money for bridge repairs.

The survey is of 88 cities and towns statewide, 28 of which are on the Western Slope, including Grand Junction, Fruita, Delta and Rifle.


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