Mayor: Don’t worry about USOC, worry about city budget

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Mayor Lionel Rivera touted the city’s economic development victories, warned of tough economic decisions ahead and downplayed problems with the U.S. Olympic Committee development agreement during his State of the City speech today.

He said keeping the USOC in Colorado Springs would bring new shops, restaurants and tens of thousands of sporting fans to the city.

“It’s a vision I embrace and support, and it starts by keeping the USOC Headquarters in Colorado Springs and capitalizing on a renewed partnership,” he said. “We won’t let you down.”

On a more positive note, Rivera said the city used tax money to successfully convince Hewlett Packard to select Colorado Springs for a $260 million data center.

“They could have chosen any number of locations for this project,” he said, “but we partnered with them to make it happen here by providing tax incentives.”

Developments and victories aside, he said the city still faces a tight budget in 2010 and that the city’s volunteer sustainable funding committee will make budget recommendations for next year on July 27.

“Our current projections are for a $23 million shortfall for 2010,” he said.

The news comes after a particularly difficult year already. The budget had gaps of nearly $40 million and eliminated about 200 staff positions.

He warned that two possible ballot measures proposed by anti-tax crusader Douglas Bruce would further cripple the city.

One of Bruce’s proposed initiatives would halt all enterprise payments to the city within eight years, including an estimated $27 million annual payment in lieu of taxes from Colorado Springs Utilities.

“You will more than likely see some ballot questions in November that will not be good for our city,” Rivera said. “If they pass, they will, when fully implemented, eliminate about $45 to $50 million a year of city revenue. We can not let that happen, and we will do everything we can to defeat the measure.”

2 Responses to Mayor: Don’t worry about USOC, worry about city budget

  1. It incenses me to hear Rivera pat himself on the back for working with HP to provide tax incentives so they will open up a NEW call center (next door to their previous facility :roll:). Where was the mayor and city council when HP wanted tax incentives to keep its existing facility open? In a meeting with Landco and the USOC perhaps? Now they want accolades for bringing a less lucrative aspect of HP’s operation back to the Springs and stick it in a NEW building right next door to previous facility. What a waste.

    Apparently having five little rings on the side of a building and some stationary is more important to our leaders than keeping (and sustaining) high profile commerce in our community. Did anyone consider the impact that not having the displaced HP employees and their families has had on property and sales tax revenue. What about the impact it has had on our community as a whole. Those are people that were members of PTA’s and volunteer organizations. They were people that invited family and friends to come and visit our amazing city, oh and spend spend spend while they were here. Having the HPs an Intels of the world pull out of the Springs hurts everyone in the city.
    I wonder if that lost revenue could have fixed some potholes or maybe improved our parks or given our emergency workers the tools and man power they need to serve our citizens better? Could it have had adverse effects on the school system?

    On the other hand that money probably would have just ended up in the hands of a select few looking to leave their mark on Colorado Springs. Oh, and stick us with a big fat bill for a few measly rings on an office building that people wont want to see if it means spending a dollar an hour to park their cars.

    Give companies a reason to do business here. Donate some money to the Olympic Training Center, that is what people come here to see anyway. The OTC is what draws the crowds; we want to be inspired by what is taking place out there. There is nothing about an office building filled with a bunch of talking heads that inspires us to do anything great.

    Most of all the mayor and council need to remember that they are serving us, not their own agendas. We deserve better than this from our government

    ……and people say I sound more and more like my dad every day, I don’t buy it though.

    John Whitten Jr.
    June 3, 2009 at 5:28 pm

  2. FYI, it’s not a call center. It’s a data center. There’s a BIG difference.

    March 18, 2010 at 7:33 pm