City Council needs to act on recommendations this time

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This week, a 293-page report was presented to City Council from the Sustainable Funding Committee. Twenty residents worked for 13 months to complete this hefty document. The SFC’s task was to study city expenditures and the revenue structure to support them.

In 2004, another group got started on yet another document that took a year and a half to produce. It was then presented to City Council by the Charter Review Commission.

There are similarities in these reports, but one similarity that should not become reality is the non-action taken on the Charter Review Commission report.

I commend the people who worked assiduously on these projects without any recognition other than maybe a thank you. I would not work that hard on a project unless I were sure it would get results.

Charter Review Commission members were demoralized when they made numerous recommendations for changes, but the City Council placed only two on the ballot — to increase council pay and to clean up some outdated language.

What happened to the recommendation to get rid of the city Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights? It was ignored. The recommendation to review the Colorado Springs Utilities governance model? Disregarded.

The SFC is recommending replacing the current utilities board, the City Council, with the “appointment of individuals with management expertise in the several service fields (electric, natural gas, water and wastewater) and that such transition be made as soon as practical ….”

Hmm … subject matter experts serving as the CSU board … what a novel thought. When the Charter Review Commission made a similar recommendation, council members rejected it. They thought they were doing a fine job as the board.

If the SFC recommendations are not thoroughly investigated, prioritized and some actual action taken by council, I see another hard-working group of folks that again will become demoralized. These people who serve on these committees obviously have a passion for Colorado Springs, as does our elected city council.

One page in the SFC report refers to budgeting for outcomes, and how, after New Orleans City Council settles on key outcomes the city manager and budget office develop “requests for results” that are submitted to agencies and departments. Results is the key word here.

I spoke with Greg Larose, managing editor of the CSBJ’s sister paper, New Orleans CityBusiness, and asked about how this worked in his city.

“I do recall something about that here,” he said. “It was probably a good idea, but as usual it probably wasn’t executed well.”

Colorado Springs should not take its cue from the Big Easy. The SFC report needs to be used to make city operations more efficient and do things differently than in the past.

20th Anniversary

Next Thursday, the CSBJ is throwing a party celebrating 20 years of the Colorado Springs business community.

The event, sponsored by Freedom Financial, will have a short program with the founders of  CSBJ, Roger Powell and Charles Sheldon; Dolan Media Company CEO Jim Dolan; and Don Marostica, the state’s economic development director.

Marostica’s message will be on how the governor’s office wants to reach out to the Springs business community.

Attendees will receive a commemorative book looking back on the people and events that shaped the community.  The in-depth interview with Steve Schuck is an impressive look back.

It will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Stargazer’s Theatre and Event Center.     The RSVP list already is quite impressive with elected, business and military leadership in attendance.  RSVP at www.csbjevents.com.  See you there.

Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Lon.Matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5202.