Published: July 16, 2013
Colorado Springs City Council members will decide by December which festivals, city events and economic development groups will receive a portion of several million dollars in city tax money to help fund their projects.
The city has received 24 applications asking for some of the estimated $3.9 million in Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax collections, or LART, said City Auditor Denny Nester. The money will be distributed as a part of the 2014-15 fiscal year city budget. Some of those applications are sometimes filed by the same nonprofit for different events, Nestor said. For example, in the 2013 fiscal year, the symphony filed two applications - one for its summer symphony event and another for its Fourth of July show.
Another four organizations - the Veterans Day Parade, Festival of Lights, Fallen Firefighters Memorial and Downtown Cultural Festival - are also expected to present applications to a citizen's advisory group, even though they missed the July 8 filing deadline.
A seven-member citizen's committee will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday on the second floor of City Hall to decide which of the applicants should receive funding. The group will then present its decisions to City Council, which will make the final decision on which groups receive money and how much they get.
Jan Martin, City Council liaison to the committee, said Monday that the four groups who filed late could still present their application by Thursday morning.
"Our goal is not to exclude anyone," she said.
However, it does not mean they, or any organization, is guaranteed of receiving LART funding next fiscal year.
The Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax is paid by people who stay in Colorado Springs hotels and motels and rent cars within the city. It is tax added after state and city taxes, he said. The LART proceeds are then given to the city and put into a separate fund. The entire pot goes to fund city events and festivals and economic development groups, such as the Colorado Springs Technology Incubator.
Some of the lodging tax funds are used to pay for a festival's "in-kind" expenses, Nestor said, such as erecting barricades and paying for police officers. In that instance, the money is transferred directly to the police department, not to an individual, Nestor said.
Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275