Please click HERE to watch the Media Briefing
At his monthly Media Briefing, Mayor Steve Bach presented a Spirit of the Springs Award to local champion sheepdog Swagger and discussed Stormwater and Concealed Carry Weapons issues. Public Works Director Helen Migchelbrink concluded the meeting with an update on Stormwater and Transit developments.
Swagger, a local 20 month-old Old English Sheepdog, received multiple distinctions at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show:
• First ever Reserve Best-in-Show winner.
• Best-in-Group winner for the Herding Category (youngest winner ever)
• Owner is Doug Johnson, who also owns the Sunrise-Woodmen Kennels in Colorado Springs. During the Waldo Canyon Fire, he boarded hundreds of animals of evacuated families at no charge.
The Mayor is requesting that the current City Council table the decision to participate in a joint resolution with the El Paso County Board of Commissioners for consideration by the incoming City Council.
The Mayor would like the discussion to be tabled for several reasons:
The City of Colorado Springs owns 76% off all the stormwater challenges in the region.
The Resolution requires City Council to join the County in potentially asking City tax payers for a tax increase in November. If the City must ask taxpayers for more funding help at some point, then we need to address not only stormwater, but streets, bridges and other urgent capital needs at the same time.
City Council and the Mayor have not yet had any conversation about alternative ways to fund stormwater needs. The Executive Branch has statutory responsibility for managing the City’s stormwater matters.
The Executive Branch is proceeding with a Request for Proposal to obtain an outside, expert second opinion on the scope and priorities for the City’s stormwater solutions. By July, the Mayor believes we can have the answer on the best course of action to then discuss with Council and our fellow citizens in an open, transparent process. This second opinion is needed given the sheer magnitude of the challenge and since the Stormwater Task Force changed its estimate of the funding requirement for the City from $500 million to $800 million – a 60% surprise increase.
It is the next Council’s right to participate in stormwater decision-making, and to give the City a few months to determine the true scope of the problem and the best way for our City to manage and fund stormwater improvements.
The City wants to cooperate and coordinate with regional partners wherever possible. The City is committed to working with other jurisdictions in the region on the sequencing of stormwater priorities and joint construction where possible for cost savings and symmetry of outcomes. Different jurisdictions will likely employ varying funding mechanisms for storm water. For example, Fountain and Woodland Park already have a stormwater fee in place. Monument may not have an interest in joining a regional management authority or funding scheme.
The City should thoroughly evaluate all options for managing and funding stormwater through a robust, open and transparent public process. We should be thoughtful in determining the best course.
“Over the past 21 months we have worked diligently to rebuild the trust of our citizens in City government. Given the depth and breadth of the stormwater needs in our City, we should pursue a careful, thoughtful approach to gain their confidence in us. We should take a brief time to get the facts straight and engage the broad community in arriving at the best future plan.” – Mayor Steve Bach
City Employee Safety
The Mayor asked the City Council to change the Personnel Policy Manual to permit employee use of Concealed Carry Weapons permits. The Council made this change on a 7-2 vote at their Formal Meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 26th.
City employees with Concealed Carry Weapons permits will now be able to carry their weapons in City buildings (excluding Police Department facilities). This change reverses a policy that had been in place since 2005. Previously, only visitors to City buildings with Concealed Carry Weapons permits were able to carry their weapons in City facilities.
Stormwater and Transit information from Public Works Director Helen Migchelbrink
- The broken concrete in Mirage Channel is expected to enter the final design phase in May of 2013.
- Structure repair in Cottonwood Creek at La Madrina is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2013.
- Repairs to the Greencrest Channel at Austin Bluffs is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2013.
- Channel stabilization and drop structure construction in Cottonwood Creek at Vincent Road is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2014.
- Debris racks are under construction near the Navigators and are expected to be completed by the end of March 2013.
- The City will help operate a Summer Shuttle in Manitou Springs from Sunday, May 19th to Saturday, September 7th to help alleviate traffic congestion around the newly legalized Manitou Incline.
- Evening bus service is returning to Colorado Springs on Monday, April 1st along the following routes:
- #1 Hillside-Hancock Plaza
- #3 Colorado Avenue
- #5 Boulder Street
- #7 Pikes Peak Avenue-Citadel Mall
- #9 Downtown transfer station-UCCS (southern portion only)
- #10 Highway 115-Pikes Peak Community College
- #11 World Arena-Pikes Peak Community College
- #25 Academy Boulevard
- Service will now run until approximately 9:45pm on weeknights.