New city manager addresses business leaders

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Speaking to more than 300 people at a breakfast sponsored by the Quality Community Group this morning at the Doubletree Hotel, recently hired Colorado Springs city manager Penelope Culbreath-Graft discussed her impressions of her new community and her plans for the future.

While reluctant to be specific, citing her brief tenure, she touched on areas of concern, and gave the audience an idea of her management style.

City finances are a major concern, she said, adding that tax increases are a necessary part of providing city services.

“No one likes taxes,” she said. “But we have to achieve a balance between taxation and funding services.

Culbreath-Graft said she prefers to find ways that allow those from outside the city pay for its services.

“Colorado Springs attracts lots of tourists,” she said. “Perhaps we can find ways for them to pay more, without charging them so much that they don’t want to come here.”

Culbreath-Graft described herself as a “change agent” and emphasized that change is both inevitable and desirable and accomplished by more than one person.

“All of you in this room, and many more who aren’t here, will share in this process,” she said. “I don’t know what shape change will take, or what the outcomes will be, but I can tell you one thing: it will be fun getting there.”