Nov 10, 2009 9:47 PM by David Ortiviz
The City of Pueblo's economic forecast is looking a bit brighter these days, thanks in part to a summer hail storm that caused nearly $106 million in damages.
"The hail damage was absolutely a blessing in disguise," said Vera Ortegon, Pueblo's City Council President.
Over the past several months, auto shops and roofing companies have been busy fixing damaged cars and homes. The city says all of that business has helped boost city sales tax revenues for two straight months. In October sales tax revenue was up 9% from a year ago; in September revenue was up 3% from a year ago.
Interim City Manager Jerry Pacheco says the increase in sales tax revenues should help the city avoid personnel cuts. "Right now we don't believe that we'll have to explore any furloughs of lay-offs," said Pacheco. "We do have a hiring freeze going into 2010, about 25 positions," he added.
The City of Pueblo has 703 full-time employees on its payroll.
Pacheco says the city will have to use $3.5 million from its general reserve fund to help balance the 2010 budget. City council is expected to approve a final budget next week.