PUEBLO—Mayor of Pueblo Nick Gradisar hosted the annual State of the City Address at the Pueblo Convention Center for the public to attend on Friday, Jan. 13. The event had over 250 citizens of Pueblo in attendance and Mayor Gradisar invited the volunteer Municipal Board and Commission members as special guests.
Each year the Mayor of the City of Pueblo is responsible for producing a report that details the state of the city, the progress against previous goals and plans for the upcoming year. Mayor Gradisar acknowledged the work of the Pueblo City Council and noted 274 ordinances were considered in 2022 and 271 were passed to improve the progress of the City.
“Our 20 Department Directors have been stellar in their leadership,” said Gradisar. “Working together, we have listened to the community, taken action and accomplished a lot, but there is much that remains to be done to make Pueblo the place we all want it to be.”
Gradisar highlighted economic growth despite the pandemic with growth in Sales Tax, development through the Planning Department, the Vacant Property Registry with Code Enforcement, road improvements with Public Works, four new fire stations planned throughout Pueblo, increased Parks and Recreation programming and more.
Sales Tax proved more growth in 20202 with an estimated total collected exceeding $73,000,000. Approximately 65% of the City’s budget comes from Sales Tax. In the first 11 months of 2022, Sales Tax collections were up over 4.8% and over 871 new sales tax licenses were issued by the City of Pueblo.
Gradisar highlighted the increased development throughout the city, which in part is credited to the online business licensing and permitting of Pueblo Place. This online portal allows for a more streamlined approach with departments like Finance, City Clerk, Public Works and Planning. In 2022, 262 single-family and multi-family residential building permits were issued, an increase of 26% from 2021.
“Land use applications for subdivisions, rezoning, annexations, street vacations, rearrangement of property boundaries and land use plans totaled 60 applications, resulting in an increase of 15% from 2021,” said Gradisar. “This is the largest growth the City has seen in a decade.”
The Vacant Property Registry was adopted by City Council in 2021 and in 2022, 187 properties were registered and paid a $500 fee to keep the property vacant. Those who did not register were assessed the $500 fee and received a $500 penalty for failing to register. As of December 6, 2022, 184 liens were filed on properties that were vacant and failed to register. Code Enforcement continues to work on these properties to clear blight in neighborhoods and encourage owners to sell, rent or update properties in order to increase the housing availability throughout Pueblo.
Gradisar went on to highlight the amenities offered through the City of Pueblo Parks and Recreation department, including the newly built Pickleball courts at Mineral Palace Park. Parks and Recreation saw increased participation across numerous programs in 2022 including Movies in the Park and saw a 36% in participation in the sports division.
City street repair was prioritized in 2022 with $10 million committed in the annual budget. Many City streets were repaired, milled an overlayed in 2022 including Hudson from 4th Street to Highway 50, N. Grand from City Center to 24th Street, W.15th from Court to Santa Fe, Covina Court, Northern from Pueblo Boulevard to Prairie Avenue. The Public Works Department also conducted a street analysis of over 500 lane miles and have prioritized road repair in 2023 for streets like Prairie Avenue, St. Clair, Joplin, Troy Avenue, Dillon Drive, Abriendo Avenue and more.
“The number one complaint we hear from our citizens is the condition of our streets,” said Gradisar. “We are working hard to change that. In the last three years we have rebuilt and repaved more than 59 lane miles of streets in the City of Pueblo.”
Gradisar also reported about crime and the efforts to address the issue for citizens of Pueblo. Ballot measure 2B, the Public Safety Sales Tax was passed in November to increase funding of the Pueblo Police Department to assist with recruitment and retention of officers. The Directed Investigations and Community Engagement (DICE) team was created in 2022 to focus on low-level crime to include shoplifting, loitering, public decency and other crimes affecting businesses and citizens’ quality of life.
Additional information about each of the City’s Departments including Finance and Sales Tax, Pueblo Police Department, Pueblo Fire Department, Pueblo Memorial Airport, City Clerk, Municipal Boards and Commissions, Municipal Court, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Community Development, Public Works, Pueblo Food Project, Stormwater, Wastewater and Community Engagement will be published online for the public to review.
Click here to view the Making a Difference handout (PDF)