More cash for law firm
The city's case against the Public Employees' Retirement Association just keeps on giving — to a law firm.
As we reported Sept. 23, the city settled its lawsuit with PERA for $190 million, ending two years of litigation over benefits owed for city-owned Memorial Hospital employees. In October 2012, the city leased the hospital to University of Colorado Health, at which time workers left the PERA system.
When the city settled, we reported that Hogan Lovells, the firm hired to represent the city, had collected $1.97 million in fees from April 2013 through Aug. 22. Since then, Hogan Lovells billed another $345,097 through Nov. 12, bringing its total to $2,318,659.
Hogan Lovells did little or no work for the city until Mayor Steve Bach was elected in mid-2011. The firm, which handled legal matters for Bach's campaign, has since been hired by the city numerous times and collected millions in fees. — PZ
Manitou revenue grows
In just a few years, the Manitou Springs city budget has gone from precarious to solid ground.
In May 2009, the town had a general fund budget of $4.5 million, with $70,000 in reserves. At the beginning of 2014, the city budgeted its general fund revenue at $5.2 million, but it actually brought in $5.9 million.
The extra revenue, combined with other improvements, has allowed the reserves (also known as the fund balance) to swell to $1 million. The 2015 general fund is now approved at $6.5 million, and the fund balance is expected to balloon to $1.3 million by the end of next year. That means the town has more than a 17 percent reserve, the allotment recommended by many experts.
Mayor Marc Snyder says many people will assume the windfall is tied to Maggie's Farm, which owns the region's only recreational pot shop, in Manitou. But he says that's a small part of it. Manitou had its best month of sales tax receipts on record in July, he says, and Maggie's didn't open until 4:20 p.m., July 31.
Part of the increase was from attracting more tourists with the city's revitalized streetscapes. The other huge piece has been cost-savings. Snyder says that the city spun off its library to Pikes Peak Library District, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. It outsourced its dispatch to the El Paso County Sheriff, saving more than $100,000 even after it hired a staffer to man the window in the police station. Manitou outsourced parking enforcement and added meters, turning an expense into a revenue. And it cut city staff by about 15 people.
Snyder cautions that the budget improvements don't mean Manitou is rolling in the dough — the historic town still has large infrastructure projects in its future, including updates to its water system. — JAS
Changes at Broadmoor
Broadmoor president and CEO Steve Bartolin announced last week that he'll take the role of chairman on March 1. He's appointed Jack Damioli, vice president and managing director, to succeed him.
Bartolin, who served as CEO for 24 years and was the sixth in that position since the hotel opened 96 years ago, will continue to provide oversight, guidance and support to the resort, he said in a news release.
"As Chairman," Bartolin says in an email to the Indy, "I am going to be very much engaged in The Broadmoor going forward."
Damioli joined The Broadmoor in January from The Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande, Florida, where he served as president and general manager for seven years. Before that, he worked for 22 years at The Greenbrier, in West Virginia.
"When I became President of The Broadmoor nearly 24 years ago, I was quoted as saying that my goal would be to someday pass on The Broadmoor to the next generation in exceptional condition, both physically and fiscally," Bartolin said in the release. "Thanks to the support of our wonderful Broadmoor staff, and the foresight of our owners, past and present, that will be accomplished."
The Broadmoor, the longest consecutive winner of the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond awards for excellence, opened under the ownership of Spencer Penrose on June 29, 1918. — PZ