Mayor Steve Bach has said that enhancing the city’s business climate is a priority. What’s your advice about the best way to do this? We’d like to hear from you.
Leave a comment below.
Get to know the non profits in town well. They are vital to the sustainability of our community.
May 19, 2011 at 11:25 am
Engage Skorman, Bahr, Munger and others who ran for Mayor. They love our city and endured going through an election in an attempt to implement their ideas. Put ‘em to work. Find a way to utilize their enthusiasm and others in the community to make a difference. I especially liked Bahr’s plan to privatize areas of city government where the city is wasteful and inefficient.
Congratulations Mayor Bach!
May 19, 2011 at 11:34 am
Small Business friendly philosophy in Regional Building department and City Zoning, please!!!
May 19, 2011 at 11:46 am
1) Focus existing tax oriented financial incentive programs on growing, retaining or attracting companies whose products are sold outside the local market, not on residential or retail development projects.
2) Find more money to spend on #1 or create new incentive programs for the same purposes as #1.
May 19, 2011 at 11:47 am
Lets make it easier and give incentives for companies to relocate / expand bringing with it new jobs.
May 19, 2011 at 11:49 am
Demand that City Staff and Regional Building Dept. come up with ways to cut red tape, reduce times for approvals and be more pro-business regardless the size of the business…
May 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm
Focus on the city infrastructure first. No major businesses are going to want to come to a city with pot holes in the streets, dead grass in medians, and unkept city parks. If you build it ….. they will come.
May 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm
Dittos on what Trevor Dierdorff wrote – only I would go one step further. Employ Skorman for your City Chief of Staff position that you’ve been talking about. He knows downtown businesses and most of the movers and shakers in our community. Skorman’s a small business owner as you have been, and putting a pencil to the city administration staff should come as second nature when it comes time to revamp our city. Secondly, unless the parking meters downtown are a real revenue generator, get rid of them, especially in front of businesses. They hinder small business’ ability to attract business when they compete with larger box stores with ample parking.
May 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Shake things up-this is your opportunity. The French say to make an omelette you have to break some eggs. Challenge the city departments and staff to come up with new, more efficient ways of looking at the same old problems. Get rid of those who won’t respond or who become blockages.The “entitlement” attitude that is so pervasive has to change. Challenge the non-political leaders of the community to step up with the leadership to repair those things that prevent us from becoming a world class city. There is an incredible pool of talent in this town that can help. You won’t be able to make everyone happy-that’s OK. You will have the support of enough of us to move the ball forward. Good luck!
May 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm
When a new business wants to open, they need a list, much like our rock/solid contract to purchase a home here in Colorado. Too many times, the city asks for one more item, only to slow ones opening and in turn create less revenue for the city. Upstarts need this to HELP then open quickly and not miiss one critical piece of info, that will in turn delay opening mths down the road. We’re in the same boat, just wish the city would be aware, as new businesses open, their job security increases.
May 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm
Unify what today is a divided city. The residents of Colorado Springs will be far better off if we can find ways of bringing all points of the city together.
May 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm
Robert Foulk Says:
“Focus on the city infrastructure first. No major businesses are going to want to come to a city with pot holes in the streets, dead grass in medians, and unkept city parks. If you build it ….. they will come.”
I believe this comment has a lot of truth to it. When representatives from businesses come to town, If our parks, roads, medians, bridges, etc. are clean and nice-looking, they may not even notice this. But if these infrastructure features look shabby, then others WILL notice. And don’t forget, we always expect a lot of tourists to come to town in summer; What does it say to them if things look shabby?
May 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm
Congratulations, Mayor Bach,
We are so very proud of you and your achievement,.
To be brief: I receive an important mailing entitled the STATE POLICY NETWORK (SPN) , a think tank for the states, in which each state is represented with its latest and greatest ideas for responsible government policies. Two books announced of major importance to help you cut through the chaf of the city:
Triumph of the City: How our Gratest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser (a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. In this book Mr. Glaeser provides fascinating prof that the city is humanity’s greatest invention, and is our best hope for the future.
Second book: The seamless City: A Conservative Mayor’s Approach to Urban Revitalization That can Work Anywhere by Rick Baker, former Mayor of St. Petersbury, Florida. This book provides a roadmap to find and to implement the most effective solutions to a city’s most challenging problems.
These two “reads” should keep your staff well-informed, in order to provide you with ideas and accomplishments of those who have preceded you in this position. You won’t have to re-invent the wheel.
Much good luck and grand success to you and to your staff!
May 20, 2011 at 3:56 am
Imitate business and community successes elsewhere.
Fort Collins, Boulder, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Albuquerque are among places from which to learn.
May 20, 2011 at 7:23 am
Don’t discount the issues regarding our city’s national image that where brought up in the election. Attracting corporations with an educated workforce to engage COS is dependent upon positive impressions we as a city project.
May 20, 2011 at 11:51 am
Utilize the incredible amounts of data that came out of the 6035 and dream city 2020 materials. Engage the citizens to keep involved and realize how many resources and people you have in this city that will help you succeed.
May 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm
Take care of the physical infrastructure, get rid of people and policys that hold the city back, work to create a positive image for our city, and encourage our residants to work together on our larger issues (like empty storefronts, negative national image, disconnect between residents and City Hall, etc)
May 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm
Look to those “outside the box” thinkers in our town. Don’t get trapped into bringing back in the same old tired and self-serving faces. Look at some of your opponents – many had excellent ideas, especially Dave Munger and Richard Skorman. Dave can connect you with the neighborhoods and Richard KNOWS downtown and small business. and remember that our city is composed of many and very diverse groups and that you are the mayor for ALL of them. And never promise not to ever do anything – you’ll just end up eating those words! Congratulations – we are all now looking to you for our guidance and inspiration and help in bringing more and better-paying jobs to the Springs! You are our ambassador to the world. You can change those negative views out there about us!
May 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm
The success of any city is the same as the success of a house hold. You can only spend as much as you take in. As a city, if there is more money going out of the city than is coming in we all have problems. It has been suggested that the city attract bigger businesses to move here. The result would be money coming in from the outside. This amount of money would then be available for new employees of those companys to buy from the local small businesses. Not enough money then we have what we have now.
May 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm
Congratulations on your election, Mr. Mayor. I’d like to start an earnest dialog to fix the City’s broken procurement system. Lots has been said, little done. Isn’t it time that common sense procurement policies be enacted to support locally-owned companies? Keep taxpayer revenue here and promote new jobs, reinvestment in the community, and a foster a stronger community-business climate.
May 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm
Dear Mr. Mayor,
Your being receptive to these suggestions is an honor. Thank you for listening. I would have liked to stay in Colorado Springs but relocated because of the business atmosphere.
Though there are many tasks for you and none are easy, more venture capital activity would help, as would diversifying the economy to lessen the dependence on defense and chipmaking.
I agree with Mr. Bill Meacham above: there are too many hurdles. One insidious killer of business and initiative is the overregulation, number of forms, tax complications, and overlapping federal, state and local agency requirements. All these make it unworthwhile to pursue new ventures.
If I might help you, please feel free to ask. Best of success.
May 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm
Steve, integrate into your goals and strategy for our city, some of the results of the 6035 study. It doesn’t have a lot of momentum, but with your adoption of some of the relevant recommendations, it could gain traction. One of the central recommendations is to invest in entrepreneurial efforts to create small businesses and grow our existing small businesses into bigger ones – to build the infrastructure to attract entrepreneurs to, and support entrepreneurs in, our city. There are several organizations who already work at this, including the SBDC, the Colorado Springs Technology Incubator, and the El Pomar funded EPIIC professors at UCCS. These organizations, and others, can form the core of a “Center for Entrepreneurship” in Colorado Springs. Hearty congratulations on your election!!
May 20, 2011 at 4:04 pm
Take a lesson from our Govenor and have all city employees apply for their jobs. Just because many have been there for years, does not mean that they are the best for the job.
Pay attention to minorities and to the GLBT community. They have much to offer.
May 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm
A few ideas to inprove the city, the economy and the image of our city:
1. Privatize part of our mass transit (use smaller busses or shared taxis instead of running $400.000 vehicles across town)
2. Convert or if you need to replace the remaining city busses to CNG (compressed natural gas)
3. Improve the energy effciency of our city buildings (most upgrades can be financed as they create a doubble digit return or can be implemented via a public private partnership).
4. Promote energy effciency in our private buildings be it commercial or residential. The Pikes Peak region was recently selected as one of only a few communities in the country to be elligible for teh power saver pilot program (http://www.ncbr.com/article.asp?id=57306
On the commercial side we should ask our bankers locally to create a loan program for this. Result:
improved cashflow for building owners
locally created jobs in the construction industry, HVAC and renewable energy business
higher sales tax revenues
greener image for our city
5. Create a feedback form to be filled out by the customers to rate city employees on their service
6. Review on a periodic basis the paperwork required to get a job or an approval done (less is better)
7. try to represent all citicens in our town that means building a bridge in our deeply divided town between the right and the left. I would suggest that we create a think tank (on a volounteer basis) which would deliver ideas to City council and the mayor to improve our beloved city.
8. Get advice from the guys who ran against you from both the left and the right
9. Change City government, the best way is to flatten hierarchies and create an environment of idea generation instead following the paper trail
May 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm
If you really are willing to ‘think out of the box’ then I suggest you look into – and measure – what would and could happen if Colorado Springs deservedly attained the reputation of being an “Intelligent City.’ Wherein a growing proportion of its residents – supported and encouraged by local government (city and county) – ‘export via very broadband internet’ their knowledge (expertise, skills, intellectual property,knowledge work) and import dollars from it.
And further have the city show leadership by requiring all city employees whose work is not manual, to ‘work from home.’ And encourage all those larger employers to do the same.
This city still works like it is it is forever in the Automobile and Physical Services age. Everybody gets up at home, drives up to 10-15 miles to and back from ‘work’ then either sits down doing the same kind of work they could do from home, over the net, or stands behind counters. And in doing so hammers the road and parking infrastructure, which is ever more costly (streets, pot holes, snow, expansion to handle the traffic).
Economic growth does NOT have to invariably be connected to Physical Growth in this Information Age.
But nobody has ever measured this. You, the City, do NOT know how many people work from home, have computers connected to the Internet or at what bandwidth – or even from ‘neighborhood’ work centers. You do NOT know what the City obstacles or business deterrents from working from home are – small business licensing, taxes, zoning, bandwidth. You do NOT know how much road usage would reduce (traffic volume, wear and tear on roads, bridges, capacity) if there were even a 15% reduction in day-trips required to ‘go to and from work.
What kind of ‘knowledge work?’ Administration, education (distance learning), legal, architectural, cultural – art, literature, music), book selling, technological – programming, web design, training, counseling, remote medical services.
And you have no idea (nor does the city administration) how many dollars flow into Colorado Springs from just such work being done by individuals over the net.
Over a seven year period I brought in over $2 million from the National Science Foundation doing a large portion of my ‘telecommunication work’ over the Internet from home. And I rendered advice – for a fee – to other city professionals who admired our work in bringing Old Colorado City back from the business dead based ENTIRELY (unlike downtown) on small businesses and historic preservation. Who knew besides me?
And I recruited Theoretical Physicists at MIT to teach ‘classes’ to high school kids in this town over the early internet.
This city needs to dis enthrall itself from economics based on local Automobile travel, and flight to deliver its products and services.. Its high time for Colorado Springs to make a huge step forward into the Knowledge Age by becoming an ‘Intelligent City.’ And I can guarantee you – for I am an example – that CS will gain a reputation that will attract knowledge workers to a city which understands them and their needs. And the quality of life here, the mountain setting will sell itself to them.
May 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm
First of all, BREAK 2 of your campaign promises: Not to raise taxes, and refusal to sign a proclamation for Pride Fest Day. On the first point- We are NOT overtaxed in this community. Well designed and prudently used tax policies can go a long way to attract tourism and business – especially the infrastracture, parks, medians and streets. I agree with comments already made about shabby parks, streets and medians. Last year, our immediate neghborhood raised over $8000 to water, seed and maintain our neighborhood park (Pinon Valley Park). This is proof that citizens will pay for those appropriate municipal services. That money is still in the bank ready to be used, but the Parks Department never did bill us, and apparently never seeded (nor weeded) the park. This spring, it looks like crap! Let’s make this a city one that we can all be proud of, and show off to our guests when they visiit from out of town.
On the second point, you are Mayor for ALL citizens and residents of Colorado Springs. By embracing and involving the GLBT community, you will go a long way to eliminate the negative national image of Colorado Springs as one of bigotry and intolerance. You have to power to unite us into a dynamic community.
May 24, 2011 at 8:33 am
Focus on and engage companies who can realistically relocate to the area, such as software development, that can employ the technically trained individuals in this town. At the same time, rather than offer short term incentives for relocation (i.e. tax breaks in the first few years) create long term incentives for relocation that foster a buy-in to the community.
Secondly, a focus on the growth of the food & arts community needs to be taken. Larger companies won’t relocate to an area without good arts, entertainment and food for thier officers/employees. While we have some of these things we havent done a good job as a community in supporting them, and encouraging them.
Thridly, work closely with the new branding initiative to help develop a strong brand for the city. This brand must combat the negative media we’ve experienced in the last 10 years regarding everything from our ultra-religious/closed minded attitude (as portrayed by the media) to the street light and trash cans fiasco. We are a diverse city and we should embrace it not divide the community.
May 24, 2011 at 1:14 pm
Also, focus on retaining young professionals. We have a serious problem with “brain drain” in this city.
May 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm
How would you evaluate the Regional Business Alliance at this point?
This poll is not a scientific sampling, but offers a quick view of what readers are thinking.
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