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Your tax money at work

Tue, May 26, 2009

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Press releases. They come. We delete. Life goes on. But every once in a while, we get one that piques our interest, like this one from the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments:

Colorado Springs, CO-The Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) has released the 2008 Annual Report to the Citizens. The report highlights how the four member governments of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls, and El Paso County made significant transportation improvements and spent more than $83 million in new revenue on major construction and design projects, maintenance activities, and transit services.

More than 200,000 copies of the PPRTA Annual Report will be distributed through major news publications including the Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, Cheyenne and Woodmen Editions, Military News, the Tri-lakes Tribune, Fountain Valley News, the Pikes Peak Bulletin, Ranchland News and Black Forest News. The report will also be available in all area King Soopers and Safeway grocery stores.

200,000 copies? That’s more than enough for every man, woman and literate child in the PPRTA’s entire service area. It’s also about 199,900 copies more than any reasonable person would imagine the demand for such a publication to be.

Let’s not forget that this is the cash-strapped PPRTA that had its budget cut by 51 percent this year and cannot afford to fill its usual number of potholes.

Obviously, you might conclude that we have a dog in this fight. After all, our peerless publication was inexplicably deprived of the no doubt lucrative business of enclosing this bit of puffery, and making it available to our similarly deprived readers.

But here’s a question: why publish the piece at all? Why not just make a PDF, and drop it in the websites of all the member entities? Cost for printing, insertion, and distribution – zero. Take the money saved thereby, and fill a few more potholes…and that reminds me of yet another press release, this one received Tuesday morning from the city.

“Fewer streets to be resurfaced in 2009.”

But maybe I’m way off base – and if so, I’m sure our readers will let me know. If any of y’all feel unjustly deprived of your PPRTA annual report, let me know. I’ll arrange to have one delivered to you.

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Green Flash Says:

    Amen, brother! Are our city managers just slow, or are they really stupid? There is no good reason to print a piece like the PPRTA in the modern day and age of sustainability. No need to kill any trees, put ink on paper or ship/mail all those reports! PDF files work just fine; and even if they don’t want to insert the piece into your paper, your electronic portal media seem to be a perfect path to CSBJ readers for annual reports such as this.

  2. PPACG Says:

    Thanks for sharing your opinion, John. I do wish to clarify a couple of facts in your article.

    1. The lead-in piece in the daily blast asked people to click through to see what the “Regional Transportation District” is up to. We are actually the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA), not the RTD.

    2. You state in your article that the “cash-strapped PPRTA had its budget cut by 51 percent this year.” This is incorrect. The PPRTA Board has directed local governments to submit a budget reflecting a 15% budget cut. This figure is part of a proposed budget adjustment that the PPRTA Board will discuss at its meetings in June and July. The 51% figure has been printed in a couple of different publications and is actually the combined total of the proposed cuts to the RTA budget as well as the cuts in the City of Colorado Springs’ streets division budget, which makes up the other 36% of the cut.

    The PPRTA is governed by a Board of Directors chosen by the involved entities to oversee the decision-making process for the PPRTA. It is made up of three Colorado Springs City Council members, three El Paso County Commissioners and one elected official each from the City of Manitou Springs, one from the Town of Ramah and one from the Town of Green Mountain Falls. A 17-member PPRTA Citizens Advisory Committee has been appointed by the PPRTA Board to monitor the budget and expenditures of capital, maintenance and transit projects and programs. An outreach subcommittee meets to discuss how to get the word out on the successes and expenditures of the PPRTA. An administrative contract has been agreed to with the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments to oversee daily administrative operations of the PPRTA.

    All of the PPRTA Board and Citizens Advisory Committee meetings are public and you are welcome to attend at any time to voice your opinion or learn more about the process. You can also access all meeting documents and quarterly reports through the PPRTA website.

    You’ll be pleased to know that the PPRTA annual report is online at http://www.pprta.com.

  3. dick Says:

    perhaps the pot holes can be filled with the extra 199,999 copies of the report……