As we head into 2012 the greatest issue that faces Wheat Ridge and other cities across the state relate to reaching a fair balance between the funding of existing and new services versus a decrease in revenues coming into the City.
Many people ask “What are the services you speak of? What does a City do? And, “How does the City get revenue?” The City of Wheat Ridge has four main public services. They are:
- Police (public safety, crime prevention, code enforcement, etc…)
- Public Works (road and sidewalk maintenance, snow plowing, traffic lights, etc…)
- Parks and Recreation (Recreation Center, parks and open space, youth and senior rec programs, etc…)
- Community Development (rezonings, building codes/safety inspections, comprehensive land use plans, etc…)
Obviously, there is never full agreement on which services are more important or needed. The main source of revenue for Wheat Ridge is sales tax, NOT property tax. Wheat Ridge has a sales tax rate of 3%, but when state sales tax, RTD and other taxes are added the rate is 7.5%. When a business in Wheat Ridge collects sales tax they must send the tax money collected to different entities. The entire 7.5% sales tax is not paid to Wheat Ridge. It is imperative that you shop and spend your hard earned money in Wheat Ridge if you can. As Councilmember Mike Stites always says “Find it and buy it in Wheat Ridge”.
As with most households, Wheat Ridge has had to tighten its belt as we witness a decrease in revenues while facing a continued increase in costs. Wheat Ridge prides itself on the services it provides such as our nationally recognized Police Department, state-of-the-art Recreation Center, outstanding recreation programs for youth and seniors, our new dog park, our new Discovery Park, our fantastic Greenbelt with bike paths, the Carnation Festival with the new Zoppe’ Italian Circus, superior snow plowing and road maintenance and other public amenities. These services help make Wheat Ridge a destination City where consumers will spend time and money, and not a pass-through City to Arvada or Lakewood. My goal is to keep Wheat Ridge a vibrant City
where people want to live, work and play. I will continue to find and support programs and projects that move the City forward.
The ongoing costs for quality services come during a time when our economy faces challenges we have not witnessed since the great depression. Your elected officials are dedicated to the continuation of these services and adding new services to meet the needs of the 21st century and beyond. But, we are also dedicated to managing our finances the same as most do with their personal bank accounts. We run on a fairly lean staffing model at City Hall.
We continue to seek new economic development efforts throughout Wheat Ridge. Those include the addition of new primary jobs as well as the continued efforts to attract and retain our retail, office and industrial uses. We have two new quality developments in progress in Wheat Ridge located at 29th and Wadsworth and 44th and Wadsworth. Both projects are funded through public and private partnerships and they will create new opportunities for our residents and businesses.
We’ve drastically improved our customer services throughout City Hall and continue to develop a process wherein we create an atmosphere of a ‘Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)’ for development which meet the goals and criteria of your community.
While we may not ‘hit a homerun’ every time, I think you will find our economic development efforts to be top-notch and our staff to be accommodating to your needs. I encourage you to look at our economic development opportunities on our website at www.ci.wheatridge.co.us or call our Economic Development Manager Steve Art at 303-235-2806. If you have any comments, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Jerry DiTullio