If sales tax revenue and building permit totals are representative of a town’s pulse, Windsor is thriving among the most fit communities in northern Colorado — and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Director of Finance Dean Moyer on Monday revealed the town’s 2012 financial report, which was loaded with good news and a promising outlook for Windsor’s growth into 2013. In total, the town raked in more than $5.8 million in sales tax revenue — the most ever for the community. The source, Moyer explained, was largely attributed to grocery sales and necessity-based items and was partially related to increased costs across the spectrum. Regardless, planners and town officials are working to adjust anticipated revenue totals and other financial sources for 2013 and beyond.
“That’s a good sign,” Moyer said during his presentation.
But perhaps more telling for both the town and the entire northern Colorado region were the 437 single-family residential building permits issued in Windsor — the third highest in the town’s history.
“I think just given the location and being the center of all the major cities in northern Colorado was a big factor,” Scott Ballstadt, Windsor’s chief planner, said after Monday’s meeting, He attributed much of the region’s bounceback from the economic recession to an inventory of land that already had infrastructure in place including roadways and water lines. Plus, he said, much of the previously-bought land was being sold to developers at a reduced rate — ample opportunity for the construction industry.
“During the downturn, we had a larger inventory of lots with infrastructure than some of the other communities,” Ballstadt said. “That attracted the builders.”
Windsor’s 2012 permit numbers slipped to a respectable second place across the northern Colorado region, being bested by Fort Collins which netted 440 permits.
With about one-seventh the population of its neighbor across the interstate, Windsor previously held the top spot for development and has been competing with Fort Collins for several years. Not counted out in the battle for growth, Johnstown has seen permit numbers soar in recent years. The town of about 10,000 issued 314 permits on the year nearly doubling its figures for 2011.
“It’s an easy commute to jobs in the neighboring communities,” Ballstadt said, explaining the residential influx in the once-sleepy Front Range communities. “Everyone always cites they like the small-town feel in Windsor — that’s really what we hear all the time.”
To the contrary, Greeley, with a population of more than 90,000, issued just 56 new residential permits in 2012.
Most communities experiencing the surge in permit numbers often see projects focused in one particular area — often a single new subdivision. That wasn’t the case this year in Windsor — another telling indicator of the town’s strength and growth.
“They (permits) were pretty much all over town,” Ballstadt said. “It wasn’t just one subdivision that saw all the growth.”
Moving into 2013, he admitted that at some point, the infrastructure that is already in place will be bought up, forcing developers to swallow more of an economic burden when planning the developments. Despite that change, he said, the area remains desirable and will likely remain an increasingly vital and sought-after hub for residents across the country.
Though he said his metaphorical crystal ball was foggy, Ballstadt predicted another gold-standard year moving into 2013.
“It probably is too soon to say (what will happen),” he said. “I don’t see any reason for it not to continue.”