October 9, 2014 Vol. 13 No. 46
Manitou Springs’ share of marijuana taxes tops $223,000 so far
Written by Larry Ferguson   


Setting the standard


Manitou junior Angala Jensen, No. 9, pictured here celebrating a win with teammate Katie McKiel, was recently named Colorado Player of the Week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for the week of Sept. 22-28. As of Monday this week, Angala, a junior, had played 43 sets in 15 matches, helping the Manitou Springs High School volleyball team post a 14-1 record for the season and take sole possession of first place in the 3A Tri-Peaks League with an 8-0 record. A setter, she has registered 243 assists while also recording 24 kills, 13 blocks, 27 block assists, 88 digs and 11 service aces.

Submitted photo

Manitou Springs is in line to receive nearly a quarter of a million dollars in recreational marijuana sales taxes that have been collected since Maggie’s Farm opened just over two months ago, according to Bill Conkling, Maggie’s Farm owner.

The city’s 10.4 percent share of the sales revenue collected by Maggie’s Farm from July 31 to Oct. 7 comes to $223,122, Conkling said Wednesday.

City officials could neither confirm nor deny the report, other than to say it’s “feasible,” because of state statutes that require confidentiality when there is only two or less recreational marijuana outlets in a municipality or county.

When the state marijuana tax report comes out — next expected in mid-October — the data from Maggie’s Farm will be merged with other municipalities or counties that have two or fewer outlets.

Conkling cautioned that the tax dollar amount doesn’t mean the city can count on receiving that amount on a regular basis. In fact, it may be months, perhaps years, before the tax collections level out, he said.

Conkling also has repeatedly said Maggie’s Farm wants to be a responsible business partner in the community.

“The best way to do that is by showing that the responsible regulation of marijuana can work,” he said. “Our non-seasonal business has brought dozens of new jobs to Manitou Springs, revitalized a rundown corner on Manitou Avenue, and has already contributed $223,122 in tax revenue to the city of Manitou Springs.”

Manitou’s 10.4 percent tax rate on marijuana sales is based on a 3.9 percent normal sales tax, a 5 percent tax on recreational marijuana and a 1.5 percent return from the state’s marijuana special sales tax.

Manitou voters will decide this November if Maggie’s Farm should be allowed to continue selling recreational marijuana.


Recreational pot revenues could be a budget ‘game changer’

By Jeanne Davant

Manitou Springs City Council took a first look Tuesday at a budget for the city’s 2015 fiscal year.

The draft budget projects revenues of about $11.3 million and expenses of $11.9 million, based on budget requests from all of the city’s departments.

These figures are just a starting point and do not include any projected revenues from recreational marijuana sales.

“Recreational marijuana is a big game changer,” City Administrator Jason Wells said. “Without that revenue stream, we will see a drop-off in our reserves relative to this year. With that revenue stream, that might not be the case.”

The city takes a conservative approach to budgeting, which is based on the current year’s revenues. The draft budget projects revenues slightly lower than last year.

“The actual numbers are artificially low,” Wells said.

That’s because the revenue figure also does not include additional flood mitigation funds that will be flowing into the city’s coffers. The projection also could rise based on revenue figures from the last few months of the year.

“The September numbers are looking better than I had projected,” said Finance Director Rebecca Davis, who developed the budget draft in conjunction with Wells and department heads.

The expense figures also will change, because the budget numbers are flat on payroll expenses. Salaries represent almost half of budget expenses. In addition, several expense items, such as flood mitigation project costs and funding of the summer shuttle, aren’t included.

Capital expenditures are projected to grow next year.

The budget includes a $50,000 expense for the lease-purchase of a new fire truck. The truck was supposed to be funded this year but was deferred because of the still-recovering economy.

In addition, “we budgeted for a full staff in the Police Department,” Wells said. The draft budget increases expense projections for the department by $150,000 to cover salaries of three more police officers. The department, however, usually is not fully staffed.

Council will consider salary increases for city employees at a work session next Tuesday. Two more budget work sessions are scheduled for Oct. 28 and Nov. 11, and Council may set a third session outside of its regular meeting schedule.

“We’re in a much better fiscal position than we have been in years, but we will have a lot to talk about and some hard decisions to make over the next several weeks of budget discussions,” Davis wrote in a budget cover memo.

The budget is composed of revenues and expenses for the general fund, which contains most of the city’s operating expenses, and 11 other, smaller funds.

A first reading of the amended budget is set for Nov. 18, and a second and final reading will be Dec. 2.