Darryl Glenn, president of the El Paso County Board of Commissioners, shared measures of local economic growth and touted county achievements at the annual State of the Region address on Thursday.
The community luncheon, hosted by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC at The Antlers hotel, attracted hundreds of people – many of them elected officials and community leaders from across the Pikes Peak region.
Sales tax collections through October this year are up nearly 8 percent over last year, bolstered with revenue generated by repairs needed from the July hail storm, Glenn said. Residential property values and new construction are on the rise, too.
“The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department issued more permits for new single-family homes through November than it did in all of 2016,” he said. “That puts new home construction at about $1.2 billion, which means that new home construction is now on a pace similar to what we saw before the Great Recession.”
He pointed to other signs of growth, including the construction of the new Olympic Museum, which began in June, and the ENT Center for the Arts scheduled to open on the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus in January.
“We’re also seeing an influx of new ideas and innovation into our region,” Glenn said. “Our county has taken a proactive approach in rolling out new software, systems and procedures to improve efficiency, increase transparency and provide better services to citizens.”
This year, the El Paso County Assessor unveiled a new website that provides interactive maps loaded with information like sales records, property values and census data. The county’s Planning and Development Department also established an electronic program that makes development applications dating back to 1947 available online and speeds up the review process by allowing applicants to complete more steps virtually.
He cited other accomplishments: a new database that allows the Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Springs Police Department to more readily share information with other local law enforcement agencies, upcoming reforms in the county’s Pretrial Services Program, and the transitioning of the county’s 40-bed detox center to private management.