On Thursday August 9th, 2012, Mayor Steve Bach spoke to a crowd of over 800 at the Antlers on the State of the City. The speech began with the Mayor thanking Bob Cutter and Colorado Springs Together for their help with Waldo Canyon Fire recovery efforts. Mrs. Bach next took the stage to share the story of young Spirit of the Springs Award winner Lexi Kluge who took her passion and compassion for supporting our troops and turned it into a community-wide project. She collected enough donated items to stuff 100 stockings to send to soldiers serving overseas during the holidays.
After presenting a Key to the City to the retiring Steve Cox, Mayor Bach told the audience about some of the highlights of his first year in office.
The Mayor reiterated that, as always, the priorities of his administration remain jobs, transforming city government and building community.
After meeting with Mayor Bach, Bal Seal, Steller Restaurant Solutions, and Kinder-Morgan decided to remain in Colorado Springs, resulting in the retention of over 850 jobs. Lowe’s, USA Discounters, and Wal-Mart are leading renewal initiatives in the Southeast area of Colorado Springs and will bring over 200 jobs to the region.
The Mayor has made contact with over 200 of the primary employers in the region to discuss ways to make Colorado Springs the most attractive city in America for job growth.
The culture of the City has started to change. It has started to shift away from its regulatory roots and now has more of a customer service focus. There is now longer-term planning, priorities-based focus and zero-based budgeting.
The reserve fund is nearly $10 million dollars greater than a year ago. However, some of this will go toward Waldo Canyon Fire expenses, highlighting the importance of a healthy reserve fund.
Through the Spirit of the Springs program, there has emerged a focus on cultivating future city leaders, celebrating and connecting community and engaging citizens. The Mayor mentioned the almost three dozen Spirit of the Springs Awards given out, the rallies and special events held, the projects supported like Adopt-A-School and Ticket to Success, the scholarship golf tournament and the town hall and community groups meetings hosted.
The Mayor next pivoted to the future. This Fall, a new Strategic Plan for the City will be announced. It will be action-oriented and include measurable outcomes. The success of this new plan will be measured by achieving three goals:
1. Being the most business and citizen friendly city in the United States of America as measured by an average of 6,000 new civilian jobs per year in our region and by citizen satisfaction.
The City is taking the lead on improving the business climate. Today, I respectfully ask the Chamber & EDC to take the lead in growing the 6,000 new civilian jobs per year that we will need.
2. Transforming City Government to live within its limited financial resources and be the “best in class” city of our size.
We will accomplish this through a priorities-based focus and zero-based budgeting, rethinking everything we’re doing, reinventing, innovating, empowering our employees and making tough decisions. We will use common sense and do the right thing.
3. Building community through on-going dialog with our citizens; local, regional & State leaders; and by encouraging private sector and nonprofit initiatives to improve the well-being of everyone.
We will accomplish this through our Spirit of the Springs and other Mayor’s special initiatives, continued leadership in the PPRMC and ongoing collaboration with Governor Hickenlooper and other Front Range community officials.
The Mayor closed by reminding us that, even though we face real challenges ahead, our solutions must come from within our America the Beautiful City. Together we can make Colorado Springs even better.