Category Archives: indicators

2016 School Demographics

fred2016-2

fred2016Source: Colorado Department of Education

Garfield County joins billionaires club

Garfield County joined the billionaires club in 2006 as the volume of all real estate sales in the county topped $1 billion for the first time last year. The $1.04 billion in total sales for 2006 was an increase of 22 percent over the 2005 mark and growth of 137 percent from 2003.

The oil and gas boom in western Garfield County is driving the real estate development boom in western Garfield County. An estimated $75 million of the $1 billion in commercial and residential sales in Garfield County occurred in Rifle last year.

Meanwhile, Pitkin County has remained above the $1 billion level in annual sales volume for each of the last four years. Sales volume topped $2 billion in 2005 and soared to $2.64 billion last year.

Read Scott Condon’s full article …

No Parking: Condos Leave Out Cars

A recent NY Times article highlights examples of condos being built without associated parking spaces. Although this practice goes against the codes in many communities, planners are realizing that “free parking” might be a reason why housing has become so unaffordable to middle-income families.

The article quotes Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California at Los Angeles and the author of The High Cost of Free Parking, “In the United States, housing is expensive and parking is cheap. We’ve got it the wrong way around.”

Although condominiums without parking are common in Manhattan and the downtowns of a few other East Coast cities, they are the exception to the rule in most of the country. In fact, almost all local governments require developers to provide a minimum number of parking spaces for each unit — and to fold the cost of the space into the housing price.

The exact regulations, which are intended to prevent clogged streets and provide sufficient parking, vary by city. Houston’s code requires a minimum of 1.33 parking spaces for a one-bedroom and 2 spaces for a three-bedroom. Downtown Los Angeles mandates 2.25 parking spaces per unit, regardless of size.

Today, city planners around the country are trying to change or eliminate these standards, opting to promote mass transit and find a way to lower housing costs.

Read the full aricle in the New York Times . . .

Surprise! Health costs rise faster than pay

There doesn’t seem to be any commodity that people’s pay can keep up with these days. Add Health care to the list. Although the rate of increase has slip to less than double digits increases over the last few years, health costs have still almost doubled (82.2%) since since 2000. Workers wages increased a paltry 15%.

Anyway you count the numbers, the results ain’t pretty for workers. Read Will Shanley’s article in the Denver Post . . .

Health care costs in Colorado have jumped 82.2 percent since 2000, more than five times the earnings increase for workers.

For family health coverage, the average annual premium paid by workers and employers rose to $12,386 in 2006, up from $6,797 in 2000.

Meanwhile, worker wages statewide grew by 15 percent, or $3,947, to a median of $30,337 per year.

Those findings were reported Monday in the study “Premiums Versus Paychecks: A Growing Burden for Colorado’s Workers.” Families USA, a health care advocacy group based in New York, prepared the report.

From ‘Edge of Hell’ to Luxury homes in El Jebel

The village that began as affordable housing for workers at Ruedi Reservoir and the Fryingpan-Arkansas water diversion project is now the site of Shadowrock, a high-end townhouse project where prices will start at almost $600,000.

A powerhouse real estate development and acquisition firm from Dallas is building the first phase of the 100-townhouse project.

In the past, some observers snidely referred to El Jebel as “edge of hell.” Now it is home to several top restaurants, a collection of shops and service providers, a bowling alley and theater. Willits developer Michael Lipkin is completing the first building in what will be a 10-block town center with numerous more shops and restaurants.

Read the full article in the Aspen Times . . .

Public picks up more of hospital tab

Medicare and Medicaid programs paid for more than half of all patient days at Colorado hospitals in 2005, fresh evidence that taxpayers are increasingly picking up the tab for health care at hospitals.

Data released by the Colorado Health and Hospital Association show Medicare and Medicaid combined to pay for 52 percent of patient hospital days in Colorado – the highest percentage ever reported for the state by the association.

Medicare, a federal program that covers people over age 65, paid for 34.2 percent of patient days statewide last year. Medicaid, a program for the poor that is equally funded by the state and federal taxpayers, picked up the tab for 17.8 percent of patient days, the report showed.

The balance of patient days are paid by private insurance, individual payments and other forms of payment such as workers’ compensation.

The government programs, especially Medicaid, do not fully cover the costs for hospital stays. As a result, hospitals are forced to shift the financial burden to private-paying patients and employers through higher insurance premiums, said Stuart Guterman, director of the Medicare’s Future program at the Commonwealth Fund, a Washington, D.C., foundation.

There are an estimated 46 million uninsured Americans. That includes about 767,000 people in Colorado, or 17 percent of the state population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Read the full article in the Denver Post . . .

New Castle is booming

Another small town on the Western Slope is booming.

The town of New Castle, 10 miles west of Glenwood Springs along the I-70 corridor, is growing and it’s expected to more than double in size when all of the current platted land is developed. The town currently has around 1,300 residential units within town limits. With four subdivisions now in development, that number will increase to approximately 3,740 if it reaches full build-out.

The subdivisions include:

  • Castle Valley – 1,400 total units, 620 built or currently under construction.
  • Lakota Canyon – 827 total units, approximately 90 built or currently under construction, half of the land is already platted.
  • River Park – Approximately 150 units when complete
  • Castle Ridge – 67 total units, 12 currently built or under construction.

According to Steve Rippy, former town administrator and current community development consultant for New Castle, the town is experiencing little strain on the water and waste water facilities because the town began expanding the facilities to accommodate the anticipated growth in 1999 and 2001.

The $1.2 million final phase is scheduled to begin around mid-September. This upgrade is an efficiency upgrade to the clarification system that returns solids back into the aerobic system for further breakdown. The addition of an automated grit removal system will increase the efficiency of the filtration system by mechanically removing solids before they reach the plant.

Expansions of the water plant started in 2001 with the addition of three water filtration units. Another filtration unit will be added to the plant this winter – the third upgrade in a six-year plan is scheduled to conclude in 2007.

Read the full article in the Post Independent . . .