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Pueblo County to start 1A projects sooner than expected

Posted: 5:36 PM, Jul 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-16 20:24:13-04
Board of Pueblo County Commissioners meet to discuss updates on 1A financing

PUEBLO COUNTY — Pueblo County is moving forward to finance some major projects that weren't scheduled to start until next year.

It's all part of the 1A measure that was approved by voters in 2016.

The county has basically decided to borrow money against 1A (which will start generating tax dollars in 2020) to get several shovel ready projects up and running.

Pueblo County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz said, "I think there's a lot of reasons that we decided to try and get started sooner than later."

From parks, trails, to road improvements, there's 20 different projects across Pueblo County that people are itching to get a move on.

Ortiz said, "Simply knocking out these projects one by one on an annual basis really didn't seem to be the best way for it."

That's what would've happened if Pueblo County commissioners had waited till 2020 for tax incentive funds to kick in. Instead, they're borrowing about $14 million from the bank to pick up the pace on a lot of county improvements.

Ortiz said, "A couple of those reasons had to do with rising construction costs...some of the larger-scale projects do require more funds than could be received if we were just collecting monies on a year by year basis."

With the extra money they can now keep the momentum going on projects like the Pueblo Riverwalk.

Lynn Clark, executive director of the Pueblo Riverwalk, said, "We have a master plan at the Riverwalk that was developed over 20 years ago so the boathouse and the channel extension are actually something that was always planned, and we were waiting for funding to occur."

Now, she's one step closer to making these improvements a reality for her city.

Clark said, '"We want people to drive down the interstate and say, "Hey, that's Pueblo."'

News 5 did ask Commissioner Ortiz if this move was a risk, but he said with the money that is expected to be made from the tax incentives he feels this is responsible financing.