It is a critical time for Colorado Springs.
Voters need to vote for 2C, but with the recent $43 million-plus U.S. Olympic Committee debacle, they have a legitimate right to say they cannot trust city officials. Life’s about timing, I always say, and unfortunately this may be an instance of disastrously bad timing.
Elected officials should step forward in a totally open and public forum and ’fess up that they mishandled the USOC matter. They should stand before everyone — their friends, their critics, the media — and answer every question.
It is the only way to regain voters’ trust. Transparency and candor by city officials will win back some trust, and I ardently hope it is enough to pass 2C.
Remember the team-building concept where a person has to fall backward off a table and be caught by team members? Elected officials have a lot of people to catch to build voter confidence. There is not much time.
Opponents of 2C point out that the money it would raise is not specifically targeted, but would go to the general fund. Well, the general fund is where it is needed. The general fund pays for police, firefighters and parks and recreation, the services that are on the chopping block.
Colorado Springs needs a project, one that, when completed, provides a communitywide sense of accomplishment, something that gives the region an uplift, an awakening, a reason to see a brighter future.
2C could be that project. 2C is the means to provide resources that residents have come to expect.
2C would also eliminate the Business Personal Property Tax, saving businesses $2.2 million a year. Businesses that have more money can afford to hire more people. More people working can pay the paltry $210 per year. This would be the amount the owner of a $260,000 home would pay after 2C is fully implemented in 2014.
But then again, what will the average business pay? No one I know of has done the math on what people who own commercial properties may be paying after the passage of 2C. The pay-back for business would be in enhanced economic development.
The quality of life issues that 2C would remedy ultimately will affect the city’s ability to grow. Economic development will benefit business. What company would want to move its business and employees here if police and fire departments are not up to snuff, there are no swimming pools or not enough bus services for their employees?
If 2C passes, the community will have the services and safety a city the size of the Springs deserves. 2C can become a catalyst for community accomplishment and make Colorado Springs an even better place to do business, raise our kids and enjoy life.
The only way 2C has a chance is if elected officials stand tall, admit the mistakes made with the USOC and have an open discussion about the lessons learned.
It comes down to that trust thing. I hope city hall can pull it off. They have a lot of people to catch falling backward off that table. I don’t want the city’s future to land on the floor.
Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Lon.Matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5202.