King’s latest forays delve into C4C, City Charter review

Filed under: Hazlehurst,Politics |

Council President Keith King is at it again. At a specially called Council meeting Monday afternoon, King came prepared to present Council with a proposed resolution “concerning the proposed City for Champions.” He also plans to name a “code review committee.”

The proposed resolution seems to be an attempt by King to wrest control of the C4C process from Mayor Steve Bach, giving Council the power to modify, postpone indefinitely or even kill the entire package.

Interestingly, it appears that King may totally misunderstand C4C’s proposed financial structure. In an email, he noted that only three projects will need public funding, citing as his source a front-page article in Sunday’s Gazette.

President King, you can’t believe everything you read in the newspaper! The Gazette article stated that “City for Champions four tourism projects … have received a commitment of $120.5 million in state sales tax money. That leaves about $130 million to be raised in public or private money to build the four venues.”

In reality, the $120.5 million is not a cash grant from the state, but a projected state sales tax revenue increase attributable to the four projects over a 30-year period. Revenue bonds can be issued secured by the  “tax increment,’ but not for the full $120.5 million. City forecasts call for realizing $47.5 million from bonds secured by the state sales tax increment.

In case you’re counting, that’s about $73 million short of $120.5 million.

Given that simple fact, it’s clear that some degree of local public funding will be necessary for both the Olympic Museum and for the downtown sports/events center — unless private donations produce far more than projected. The sports/events center will require direct support, while the museum will benefit indirectly from a proposed $51.5 million in southwest downtown urban renewal area improvements. Absent such improvements, the Olympic Museum might sit forlornly in a sea of blight.

King will also present his plan to name a “Blue Ribbon Council-Mayor City Code Review Committee.” He’s not asking for Council approval, arguing that he as Council president has the power to form committees and appoint the members thereof. This committee, to be chaired by former State sen. Andy McElhany, will also include former County Commissioner Jim Bensberg, former City Attorney Pat Kelly, Kevin Walker and Sarah Jack.

It couldn’t be more different from charter review committees of years past, which were comprised of diverse groups of city leaders without visible political agendas. This “blue-ribbon” group appears to be entirely comprised of confirmed or likely Bach enemies and/or King allies. They’re uniformly competent, but likely inclined to support King’s oft-stated plans to clip Mayor Bach’s wings. It’ll be surprising if  King doesn’t get exactly what he wants from them – after all, why appoint a committee if they’re going to go off the reservation?

Here are the texts of the two missives:

Proposed Resolution

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS CONCERNING THE PROPOSED CITY FOR CHAMPIONS

WHEREAS:  The City for Champions has been proposed to return a portion of the state sales tax collected in Colorado Springs back  to the community, and

WHEREAS:  The City for Champions must be structured in the most fiscally conservative manner possible to insure financial success, and

WHEREAS:  The citizens of the city of Colorado Springs are willing to vote in support of ideas that are properly structured and make sense economically,

NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Colorado Springs Council:

Citizen Input

  1. The citizens and business community need to be heard on all aspects of the proposal.
  2. Council must conduct town hall meetings on the various phases of the projects and include that feedback in a meaningful way in the planning of the proposal.

Governance

 1.    The Regional Tourism Advisory Board should be advisory to the City and County.  The Council must be represented on the Board and allowed to choose one-third of the members to serve on the Board.  There need to be members on the Board that have financial, legal and business expertise.

2.    The City and the County must sign an Intergovernmental Agreement that delineates the decision making authority.  The agreement must be adopted by City Council.  Council must delineate in the agreements the extent to which it will exercise its due diligence over the financial aspects of the proposal.

3.    The City Council must participate in the review of the Regional Tourism Project contract with the state before it is signed.

4.    If a proposed project does not need local government funding, the Council must determine the role of the IGA and how it Council will participate in the projects and interact with the state.

5.    The various phases of the C4C projects need Council approval before proceeding only if they receive city funds.

Finance

1.    Before funds are used on any of the proposed projects, the Council through the IGA needs to review the financing and equity structures to insure sound financial planning and funding for successful business operations.  The accounting must be fully transparent.

2.    The financing of the buildings of C4C needs to be done in the most economical way possible.  This includes the funding with bonds.

 3. The private donation commitments for the projects must be firm commitments before the gap filling funding is appropriated. The projects that do not need city funding must make an irrevocable agreement with the IGA that they will not as for city funds.

4.     The annual growth of the general fund must be at least 1.5 percent before City funding is allowed for the C4C projects.

 Proposed Guiding Principles – Taxes

1.    The city may not expend city funds on capital construction of any of the projects without a vote of the people.

Keith King – President

107 North Nevada Avenue

Colorado Springs, CO 80901

 

Council believes it is extremely important that the Legislative and Executive branches of our new Council/Mayor form of government work together as co-equals in doing what is best for our City and our Citizens.   A major part of the disagreements to date have been over interpretation of the checks and balances laid out in the City Charter.  These differences can either be resolved in costly court battles, or through the development of clarifying legislation within our City Code; I vote for the latter.  To that end, as President of the City Council of the City of Colorado Springs I hereby announce the establishment of the following committee that will be formed in 2014.

Blue Ribbon Council-Mayor City Code Review Committee

The purpose of this committee is to clarify the checks and balances that are necessary for the appropriate relationship between Council and the Mayor relative to the following topics:

  1. The role of Council and the Mayor relative to City Council dedicated staff
  2. The role of Council and the Mayor in signing Colorado Springs Utilities contracts
  3. The role of Council and the Mayor relative to the City Budget
  4. The role of Council and the Mayor relative to the City Attorney
  5. Additional issues that become necessary to define as determined by the committee.

The most pressing issue it that of the staff of City Council.  I have asked the committee to be chaired by:  A former co-chair of the original Council-Mayor planning committee, the Honorable Senator Andy McElhany.  I am also asking Pat Kelly, a former City Attorney, Jim Bensberg a former County Commissioner and Kevin Walker, and Sarah Jack to help who helped draft the Council/Mayor form of governance.  The committee will also ask for input from the citizens of Colorado Springs.

The committee will meet for three months during the first part of 2014 to bring forward recommended changes to the charter and rules of the previously mentioned topics.  The committee will give monthly updates to the Council during its monthly work sessions and develop a set of recommendations for Council and the Mayor to consider.  The final recommendations of the committee will be presented at the last formal meeting of the Council in April.  The Council will then deliberate the recommendations and adopt those that it believes are necessary.

Keith King

 

5 Responses to King’s latest forays delve into C4C, City Charter review

  1. At what point does it become appropriate or necessary to ask if local government conflict and instability coupled with the ineptitude shown by the Regional Business Alliance is inhibiting or enhancing economic development for the region? What would drive this question might be the Dept of Labor figures showing the end of year 2013 job count is 285 less than that for 2012 and the major new firm announcements which seem not to be taking up a lot of column inches in the local press.

    Rick Wehner
    February 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

  2. Proposed Guiding Principles – Taxes

    1. The city may not expend city funds on capital construction of any of the projects without a vote of the people.
    ———–

    Careful what you wish for…The above statement means every city capital project would have to be voted on by the people…

    Red Tape anyone?

    Bernie
    February 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

  3. This city is a farce we have elected leaders who do not present the will of the people or the good of the community. This situation is not reflecting positively on the image of Colorado Springs and does not help us attracting better jobs and driven people to our town.

    They should focus on solutions how to improve our city and not on who has more sand in their little sandbox… maybe is time to start a recall election and elect people who have the town as their interest and not themselves or their cronies…

    peter miller
    February 5, 2014 at 9:34 pm

  4. So much wasted talent on this current Council reminds me of what I watched with the Bronco’s last night. Fumbles, Interceptions, Short non gainers for plays, etc… Keith King has been nothing but a let down as the quarterback of this team, Omaha, Omaha, Omaha, fumble! It really just breaks the heart knowing that so much more could be done to straighten out our City owned Utility who now offers the highest rates on the front range (they are the Utility Board) and to promote the much needed and desired jobs that most of them promised when running for the office of City Councilor, oh yea, Omaha, Omaha, fumble when it comes to creating an enlightened business friendly, cost effective job market, instead lets fight about the ideas others have put forth in the game plan to make a change in the next quarter and would produce that much needed touchdown.

    I’m hearing and reading emails that many citizens are mentioning a recall election of at least three City Councilors and have stated that the cost to the City for a special election is warranted even with our current City budget woes. I’m one who is praying that this cost can be eliminated if these Councilors would support the platforms that they ran on for office and not the appeared personal agendas and platforms they are now presenting to the City, County, State and Nation through the press and perspective businesses who may be or have been considering relocation to this area.

    Paul Kleinschmidt
    February 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm

  5. We don’t need any more committees or soul searching. When a politician uses the words “could” and “might” — as in, C4C “could” or “might” relieve economic stagnation, it’s time for citizens to run the other way.

    Just do a little testing. There is a museum (Hall of Fame) at the OTC. Have the Convention and Visitors Bureau develop an ad campaign for that facility to appear in limited markets (a test market) and check the data this summer on increased visits. That will provide a measure of whether “If you build it, they will come.” (It also may prove the Hall of Fame and OTC just need better marketing.

    Similar tests could be developed for the UCCS programs,a stadium, whatever else is on the wish list. Then, and this is critical, share this information with the town’s citizens. Because the politicians know as well as anyone, they are using taxpayer money, no matter how they bill it.

    Clara McKenna
    February 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm