by Bill Knowles
TRINDAD — The Trinidad City Council received a final economic development report from Jonathan Taylor during their regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 21. In that report, Taylor said the city’s downtown businesses experienced about $1.3 million in new sales so far in 2017.
“There has been over $20 million in new investment, also in the downtown area, bringing the occupancy rate up 40% from 68% empty storefronts in 2015 to 28% empty storefronts in 2017,” Taylor said.
The focus for 2017 was on sustaining the gains made so far as well as focusing on the statewide, regional, and nationwide approach in establishing who Trinidad is, according to Taylor. Part of the approach was the approval of the city seal with a 7-0 vote during the unfinished business segment of the meeting.
Trinidad has 864 businesses, making the city number one in terms of most businesses in southeast Colorado, followed by La Junta with 662 businesses.
In other business, the city council approved, with a 6-1 vote, a retail marijuana store license application for Canna City at 417 N. Commercial Street. This brings the total number of licenses to 66 medical and retail, with 25 owners, located at 33 addresses. Council member Joe Bonato cast the one dissenting vote.
With a 7-0 vote on seven items in unfinished business, the council approved the second reading of several ordinances including the new city seal, an ordinance that outlines a safe tether for animals, the imposition of a flat fee for the administration in addition to actual costs of the abatement by the city, when required, of hazardous growth, and increased the amount of funds that can be used for purchases by the city, from $29,999 to nearly $50,000, amended the budget for 2017 while creating a fund within the general fund that will reflect the deposit of marijuana sales tax revenues.
The last item will make the use of marijuana sales tax revenues easier to track allowing for better transparency.
Also passed with a 7-0 vote was the first reading of an ordinance amending the procedures for bargaining units, elections and recognition allowing for supervisors to be involved with bargaining and negotiations with the union while bringing the procedures into conformity with the city charter, which was changed on approval of the city’s voters during elections.
Also approved was the La Puerta preliminary and final subdivision plat. This would allow for utilities and services infrastructure to conform to city codes in the development just east of Commercial Street, between the railroad tracks and the river.
The city is estimating that the marijuana sales tax revenues will be in excess of $890,000. It had been estimated that the city would received around $2.5 million in revenue by the end of the year. They will actually see around $2.7 million.
The city council approved with a 7-0 vote further expenditures of the funds in the purchase of one-time items. The city council went into executive session at 8:36 pm.