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Item 18 of Tuesday’s City Council agenda seemed routine. “An ordinance amending Ordinance No. 12-108 (2013 Appropriation Ordinance) for $2,000,000 and the Grants Fund in the amount of $10,000,000 for the response and repairs required after the September 2013 flooding. (Finance – Kara Skinner).” Skinner, the city’s chief finance officer, gave a crisp summary. Explaining… Continue Reading Council ventures into realm of dysfunction

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Budget provides path for Council to battle Bach

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The battles have become a war. A divided City Council moved to escalate the Council vs. Mayor Steve Bach differences at Tuesday’s “budget markup” session. In keeping with Council’s recently installed committee structure, Councilor Don Knight, who heads the budget committee, presented proposed changes to Mayor Bach’s preliminary budget. Some seemed petty, such as the… Continue Reading Budget provides path for Council to battle Bach

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It would be nice if our city’s quarrelsome elected leaders could agree on the most important issues facing Colorado Springs, wouldn’t it? Imagine if Mayor Steve Bach agreed to support a regional stormwater enterprise, and Council got behind the City for Champions projects — wouldn’t that be great? And what’s the matter with them, anyway?… Continue Reading Our personal doctor has his prescription, but is it right?

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Cities are not born by accident. New York, San Francisco and New Orleans began as seaports, gateways to a vast, unsettled country. Heartland metropolises such as Kansas City, St. Louis and Denver were commercial hubs that sprouted from the growth and prosperity generated by the industrial revolution. No one individual created any of those cities.… Continue Reading Pikes Peak still can turn rocks into revenue

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The Oct. 14 letter from City Council President Keith King to Mayor Steve Bach, distributed Tuesday to media at the end of Council’s regular meeting, began innocuously enough. “The members of the Colorado Springs City Council,” King wrote, “wish to communicate our thoughts concerning the budget process and how we see our responsibilities under the… Continue Reading Council fights Bach for powers in charter

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Retired Maj. Gen. Irv Halter, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Doug Lamborn’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives has got so many things going for him that it’s possible to imagine that (gasp! choke!) he might actually win. In the past, Democrats have tried to appeal to El Paso County voters by nominating retired… Continue Reading Can Democrat Irv Halter beat Lamborn in 2014? He may have a fighter’s chance.

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City budgets are interesting snapshots of a particular time — of the beliefs, assumptions and priorities of those who write and approve the documents. What’s emphasized, and what’s minimized? What inconvenient truths are ignored, and what accomplishments aren’t accomplishments at all? And why are city budgets so complex, so difficult to dissect and so infuriatingly… Continue Reading City budget brings new meaning to … light bulbs?

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Before a packed room in the city administration building Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Steve Bach fired the first salvo as the simmering disagreements over stormwater funding between mayor, City Council, the Board of County Commissioners and the Regional Stormwater Task Force erupted into open warfare. It began with a somewhat muddled “Stormwater Needs Assessment” by CH2M… Continue Reading Mayor unveils ‘October Surprise’

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Now that a second effort to recall state Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Aurora, has been launched by NRA-backed Republicans, maybe it’s time for Democrats to reconsider their strategy as they attempt to fight off such efforts. When recall petitions were certified against Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, Democrats huffed and puffed… Continue Reading Should Dems fight latest recall attempt, or play rope-a-dope?

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State tax burden not as low as some think

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Taxes. They’re always too high, never too low. Few of us appear to believe that we pay a fair share of taxes, or that the tax system is structured to reward hard work, penalize sloth and fund only the basic necessities of government. In the famous dictum of Sen. Russell Long, D-Louisiana: “Don’t tax you,… Continue Reading State tax burden not as low as some think

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