City council

The Trinidad City Council is seen in its regular meeting on Tuesday, August 6. Pictured (L-R) are City Attorney Les Downs, Council members Anthony Mattie, Karen Griego, Carlos Lopez, Mayor Phil Rico, Council members Michelle Miles, Rusty Goodall and Joe Bonato.

Trinidad City Finance Director Cheryl Navarette presented her report of city financials for the second quarter of 2019 at the city’s regular meeting on Tuesday, August 6. Navarette reported that general fund revenues has been over collected by $908,000 due to more property tax and more marijuana revenue being collected than anticipated.

In respect to property tax, Navarette explained that revenue for that is received by the city largely in February and April of the year and she expects those revenues to taper off by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the city has collected $538,000 more in marijuana tax revenue than anticipated. “However, what is budgeted for revenue is $2.1 million, because 30 percent of (what is collected) will be moved to the reserve fund, so $476,000 will be moved to the reserve and not recognized as revenue,” explained Navarette.

Navarette compared 2018 marijuana revenue with what has been seen this year. For the second quarter of last year the city had collected $1,591,000 and through this quarter this year the city has collected $1,588,000 and Navarette is still waiting on an allotment payment from the state that she expects to be  in the $60,000-$65,000 range, but won’t receive that payment until the end of the month.

“So, in the end, we are ahead of the game by $57,000 or more, than 2018,” said Navarette.

Navarette detailed that in 2018 there were 20 marijuana dispensaries operating in the city. Through June of this year, there were 24 dispensaries open. Retail sales of marijuana in 2018, through June, was $24,491,000. Retail sales of marijuana through June of this year are $25,894,000; representing an increase of $1,403,000 over the last year.

Navarette said the highest revenue months for retail marijuana are August and September.

As far as marijuana cultivation taxation, the city has collected $160,000 so far. For all of 2018, the city collected $217,000. Navarette explained that the city starts to see payments for cultivation in October, so she expected revenue numbers to increase in August, September and October, once harvest is underway, “but, obviously, we don’t know exactly when that will happen,” said Navarette.

City financial notes

— Power and light fund: Navarette said this fund doesn’t recognize revenues until the hotter months. Currently short for revenue in power and light by $72,000, or 0.9 percent. Through July, the city is $50,000 short. Expenses are are under expended by 3.3 percent and are $260,000 below budget.

— Water fund: This fund also recognizes revenue in summer. Water charges for services were $171,000 short, or 7.5 percent short, but Navarette checked numbers through end of July and the city is $121,000 short, so balance is starting to work itself out the other direction. Expenses are 4.8 percent under budget, or $134,000 under budget.

— Gas fund: This fund works opposite to the other funds and payout and collection is in winter. The city was $604,000 ahead of the game for gas and when Navarette checked for July the city is now just $401,000 ahead. In the first quarter the city over collected by $714,000, but that number again will start tapering down as the city goes furher into the year.

— Sewer fund: Undercollected by $46,000 or 2.6 percent.

— Lottery fund: Fund is on track. Collected $8,900 more than anticipated. Over expended in lottery by $14,000, because most of the expenses (city pool and city parks) for that fund come in the summer months May through September.

— Tourism fund: Navarette said the primary months for collection for this fund are in the second and third quarter and she expects by the third quarter this fund will be ahead in collections. Currently the fund is under-expended by $12,000

— Capitol fund: Sales tax is currently over-collected by $967,000. “It’s pretty hard to say where we will end up,” said Navarette. “But I’m pretty sure we are going to meet the $2 million limit.”

Other city business

— The City of Trinidad City Council, after a public hearing on the matter, approved a new retail marijuana cultivation facility application filed by Rocky Mountain Tillage, LLC at 36900 El Moro Road. (This will be detailed later in a story by The Chronicle-News).

— The city approved, after public hearings and second readings, an ordinance and submission to the voters to consider extending the one percent sales tax originally authorized by vote of the people on Nov. 4, 1980 and extended by vote of the people in 1991, 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2014 and to provide for dedication of the revenue from such sales tax to capital projects, purchases and maintenance.

— The city council approved by a vote of 5-2 to renew a contract with Colorado legislature lobbyist Debbie Wagner at a cost of $30,000. Councilmembers Karen Griego and Carlos Lopez were the dissenting votes. Griego and Lopez contended that Wagner did nothing for the city that it couldn’t and didn’t already do itself. The other council members felt Wagner was a valuable asset to the city’s legislative needs.

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