Mayor to investigate Urban Renewal

Posted by J. Adrian Stanley on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM

  • Bach

The mayor and the Urban Renewal Authority haven't exactly been on the same page as of late.

There was the news that the Authority will default on bonds for a North Nevada Avenue project, upsetting Bach. Then there was an argument between the mayor and a member of the Urban Renewal board over whether the board planned to charge the Ivywild School project outrageous fees. (Urban Renewal says it was a misunderstanding based on a draft document; the mayor claims his administration heroically got the fees lowered.) And finally, there was the revelation that Urban Renewal asked the city for money — a move the mayor found outrageous.

So perhaps this isn't surprising ...

Mayor Bach initiates inspection of the Urban Renewal Authority

Mayor Steve Bach announced today that he has directed Chief of Staff, Laura Neumann, to conduct an inspection on his behalf of Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority (CSURA) financial accounts, records and operating files.

In a letter sent today to Mr. Michael Collins, Chairman of CSURA, Bach requested CSURA’s cooperation with this inspection.

The authority for this inspection is found in the Colorado Springs Municipal Code. Section 1.2.308 provides in relevant part that the Mayor “shall have charge and supervision over all accounts and records of the City, and all boards or groups required to keep or make accounts…and may inspect or cause to be inspected all records or accounts required to be kept in any of the offices or departments of the City, and cause proper accounts and records to be kept and proper reports to be made.” See also, Section 1.2.302 (“ACT AS DEPARTMENT HEAD: The Mayor shall have and exercise the power and authority to perform the duties of the director or manager of any department, division, office, agency or municipal enterprise given or prescribed by this Code or by any ordinance, resolution or contract of the City.” (quoted in relevant part)).

CSURA was established by the City of Colorado Springs City Council in 1970 through the approval of Ordinance No. 3995, and consists of a board appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council Members. As such, its accounts and records fall under the mayor’s purview under Section 1.2.308.

Comments (2)

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Audit should include investigating all Urban Renewal Project and whether or not any of the CSURA commissioners (Michael Collins, Brian Colvert, Dottie Harman, Scott Hente, Jim Kin, Judy Noyes, John Olson, Rosemarie Venezia and Susan Wood-Ellis) or their firms benefited from the projects.

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Posted by PlayInSnow on 02/16/2012 at 11:50 AM

Any investigation will reveal the usual aspect where developers, movers, shakers and various participants know each other; some level of incestuousness is bound to be found. Question is whether this is good or bad; mostly it depends on a review of actual dollar flows, activities and outcomes. This city isn't all that big, I'm sure most of them know each other. Unless there's been true wrong-doing, it's all a big so-what.

So far as the North Nevada project, this relatively successful project occurred despite the worst economic mess since the Great Depression; a real valid achievement to be short by only $50k on a $750k note given the economic carnage out there. The danger here is that the usual reactionaries will throw the baby out with the bathwater. I like this project and visit it regularly.

If Mr. Bach wants to look at the URA, he should focus on that Northgate boondoggle where a plot of vacant range land was deemed an URBAN renewal site. Since when is never-developed, rural, bare, raw, weedy land considered to be blighted and in need of special "urban" treatment. A farce if ever was one, and due to TABOR denying the state needed funding to complete Powers/Hwy 21 as planned.

The review is a good thing, I hope it goes forward and proves useful for we citizens.

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Posted by OldCrank on 02/16/2012 at 12:43 PM
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