Building permits, sales taxes on upward trend in Castle Rock

A new LED sign installed outside of town hall will communicate event and emergency messaging with town residents.
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Castle Rock is definitely seeing economic recovery, Deputy Town Manager Fritz Sprague told the town council at its June 18 meeting.

Sprague said staff is having to revise numbers in the town's three-year plan because of an increase in both building permit numbers and sales tax revenue.

The town expected a 6 percent increase in sales tax revenue in 2012 and actually saw a 7.7 percent increase, he said. In 2013, the town expected 5 percent, but is going at a 5.3 percent rate.

He said staff is upping the 2014 projected increase in sales tax revenue from 4 percent to 5.5 percent.

Building-permit numbers are much larger than expected.

In 2012, there were 534 single-family building permits, instead of the expected 425 permits, he said.

For 2013, staff expected 350 permits, but at the rate the town is going, that projection has been changed to 750 permits. And Sprague expects even more.

“I'm not really a betting man, but I bet we get pretty close to 800,” he said.

The town's revenues and fund balances are in a good place, he said.

Councilmember Clark Hammelman's reaction to Sprague's presentation was to ask whether the council shouldt consider changing the sales tax rate.

“One of roles is making sure people aren't paying too much in taxes,” he said. “I'm wondering if that is something (to) consider.”

The town council can mull that over, among many other ideas, at a budget workshop set for July 30, a major step in crafting next year's town budget.

Mayor Paul Donahue said he personally wasn't “as bullish on the next few years.”

He said there is the specter of rising interest rates, and that “we're possibly moving into another housing bubble.” Also he said the stock market has been going up for about five years without any big corrections yet.

“My recommendation … let's be cautious,” he said.

Donahue there are a lot of indications that a house of cards is being built, nationally. He said he wants to make sure the town is ready for another downturn. He said the town's reserves really helped them get through the last one.