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City Press Release

The City of Colorado Springs announced last week Terracare Associates has been awarded a contract to perform snow removal in the northwest portion of Colorado Springs.  The area is Grid 1 in the City Streets Division’s 16-grid route plan, which is north and west of Garden of the Gods and I-25 to the city limits.

Terracare Associates will follow the City’s Snow and Ice Removal Priority Plan in this grid. The Priority Plan calls for primary routes (arterials) to be cleared first, followed by secondary routes (collector streets) once the primary routes are passable. Residential streets will only be treated if there is at least six inches of accumulation and only after primary and secondary routes are passable.

Citizens living in this area should contact Terracare Associates directly regarding any snow plowing concerns.  They have set up a website at www.SpringsIssues.com/portal to accept snow/ice removal work orders.

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From CaptainCapitalist.com

With the re-election of Barack Obama and the Supreme Court decision that the individual mandate can stand as a tax, Obamacare is the law of the land, like it or not. It will be fully implemented in 2014. With all the uncertainty surrounding the law, one thing is certain; labor costs are going to go up. How will that effect the labor market? For clues, look at the housing market.

After the credit market debacle of 2008, new requirements were put in place for loans, making qualifying for a home mortgage much more difficult. Demand for housing is still there, but fewer people can qualify to buy a house. Hence the housing market, four years later, is still lackluster at best.

The same principals will apply to the labor market. In fact, anticipated cost increases have already had a major impact. The official unemployment rate for November actually dropped to 7.7% as the economy reportedly created 120,000 new jobs. However, the drop in the rate came from the fact that 350,000 people quit looking for work and are therefore no longer counted in the employment numbers. The percentage of working age adults participating in the workforce is now at a 50+ year low.

There are job openings out there, but the bar has been raised and is going to be raised further. Consider a company that operates on a 30% margin. That means that for every $1 they generate in revenue, they net a profit of 30 cents after expenses. If their current cost per employes is $20,000 per year, they have to take in an additional $66,000 in revenue per new employee to maintain that margin. Now increase the cost per employee by $5,000 per year to cover an insurance requirement. The company now has to generate over $83,000 per employee to justify a new hire. If you can't deliver that kind of productivity, they don't need you.

This may actually benefit companies at the top of their field as companies operating on tighter margins drop out. It could also benefit temporary employment services. More companies may opt for "just in time" labor, using them only when they really need them, rather than taking them on as employees. Again, look at the housing market. In our area, it now costs almost twice as much to rent a house as to it does to pay a monthly mortgage, but if you can't get the mortgage, you're going to have to rent. Your hourly cost to rent an employee may be substantially higher than taking one on permanently, but you can let them go or stop using them any time without consequence.

It may also cause an increase in independent contractors as individuals find it easier to get a little work from a lot of companies than to get a full time position with one company.

Obamacare will cause changes in more than just the labor market, but the labor market may be where most people experience change first. I'm not going to say the world will come to an end or that we're going to suddenly experience some kind of train wreck. After all, Greece, Portugal and Spain still exist, despite their economic woes. Life will go on, but it will likely be quite different. You can't regulate, mandate, tax and spend your way to a vibrant economy, but that's not what America voted for.

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Mayor to flip the switch on final light Monday
          
(City Press Release)

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach will flip the switch to turn on the last streetlight on Monday, December 10 at 5 p.m. at the northwest corner of Academy Blvd. and Constitution Ave.
 
The process to turn on all of the lights began on October 1 and the approximately 3500 remaining dark streetlights are now on.*
 
Mayor Bach says, “Restoring the remaining 3500 streetlights is one of the key community benefits in the City’s 2013 budget.  With additional savings from 2012, we are glad to be able to restore this service to the citizens before the New Year.”
 
“Streetlights are an important function in any urban environment to help provide better visibility and increase safety for drivers and pedestrians traveling at night,” says Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager.
 
The City turned off approximately 8,000 streetlights in 2009 as a cost-saving measure.   All residential streetlights were turned back on in 2010. Now, all remaining arterial lights are back on back on.  Budget savings from 2012, including salary savings from not filling vacant positions, helped fund the $150,000 needed to turn the lights back on.  The electric cost to keep the remaining 3,500 lights on will be approximately $100,000 annually.

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Press Release

On November 30, 2012, Griffis/Blessing completed the purchase of Aspen Point Apartment Homes, a 120-unit apartment community in Arvada, Colorado, in the Denver Metro Area.  The property is situated in a very desirable location near employment centers, shopping and dining in the nearby Olde Town Arvada area, and is adjacent to numerous outdoor activities, such as parks, trails and open spaces.
 
Gary Winegar, Chief Investment Officer for Griffis/Blessing, says that demographics and low interest rates favor the multifamily investment sector.  "We continue to seek strong current yields for our investors, and with state-wide occupancy rates at high levels, we believe the multifamily segment is very attractive and will be for a number of years ahead," says Winegar.  "This is our third multifamily purchase in the past 12 months—our first in Arvada—and we are under contract to purchase another property in the Denver Metro Area before the end of the year."
 
"We are very excited about this property for a number of reasons," says BJ Hybl, President and Chief Operating Office for Griffis/Blessing's Property Services Group.  "We feel there are a number of opportunities to add value to the property, such as upgrading select unit interiors and enhancing the drive-up image and signage of the property, and with the extension of the Gold Line Light Rail system, we believe the Arvada submarket will continue to be a very desirable place to live, work and play.  We are pleased to be getting in the market now."
 
Financing for the acquisition was arranged by Steve Koeneke and Brock Yaffe of Northmarq Capital through Northmarq's Fannie Mae-DUS subsidiary, Amerisphere Financial.  "This was a highly sought after loan, particularly between the two agencies, Freddie and Fannie," says Koeneke.  "Both have familiarity with Griffis/Blessing and view them as top-notch sponsors.  In the end, Fannie was able to provide better loan proceeds and a more favorable rate."
 
The broker for the transaction, Pat Stucker, CCIM, of Cushman & Wakefield, believes that the property's location and capital improvement opportunities make this a strong purchase.  "Aspen Point is ideally located close to Olde Town Arvada and has received substantial renovations over the previous five years," says Stucker.  "With an opportunity to add value through unit interior upgrades, coupled with limited opportunities for new multifamily development in the immediate area, Aspen Point is an excellent buy in the Denver market for Griffis/Blessing."
 
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO with an additional office in Denver, Griffis/Blessing, Inc. currently manages over 4 million square feet of commercial space, and more than 4,000 apartment units located along Colorado’s Front Range. The company has provided award-winning property management and real estate investment services throughout Colorado since 1985. For more information, visit www.griffisblessing.com.
 

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Press Release

Ten years ago, writer D.K. Maylor found himself wondering what a modern-day interview with Jesus might sound like. Strictly to humor himself, Maylor sat down one afternoon and typed a few lines of dialogue. Little did he realize that his initial musings would evolve into a serious, heavily researched, nine-year labor of love. The result: a 465-page spiritual bombshell entitled Wrestling with Jesus.

Maylor's book has him sitting with Jesus for an all-day conversation by a river in a secluded forest in the southern U.S. -- and the fact-filled, hard-hitting but humorous discourse is apparently striking a chord with readers around the world. At this writing, the 21 readers who have taken time to post reviews at amazon.com have given the book a perfect 5-star average rating. Not bad for an unknown first-time author.

"I had no idea the book would be so well-received so quickly -- especially among Christians. The book, after all, is not kind to various aspects of religion in general or to certain parts of Christianity in particular.” Some of the topics tackled in “Wrestling” include questions such as:

_ Why does the Bible God require the spilling of innocent blood before He can allow Himself to forgive?
_ Why didn't God create everyone perfect, as He supposedly did with Jesus?
_ How can God be loving if He tortures non-believers forever in a place called "hell"?
_ Was Jesus really born of a virgin? Why didn't he (or most of the New Testament writers) ever mention it?
_ Does the Old Testament really predict the birth of a godman? Does it truly foretell of a bodily "resurrection"?
_ Why didn't God place everyone in heaven the moment He created them? Why risk their damnation by first sending them to earth?
_ Why did God create hell long before Jesus' birth? Did He have doubts that Jesus' mission would succeed?