Newest capital-needs number from city: $1.3 billion

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A presentation to be given to Colorado Springs City Council on Monday shows the city has a backlog of capital projects totaling $1.3 billion, including $687.9 million in stormwater drainage projects.

The report was created from a mayor's committee of citizens and staff. Although Mayor Steve Bach and his Chief of Staff Laura Neumann said previously the list topped $1.6 billion without stormwater needs, the presentation that's now available gives $1.3 billion as the total, including stormwater.

(The numbers get even more confusing when you read a memo Neumann wrote to Council — p. 13 in the PDF below — wherein she describes the CIP committee presenting their initial results to Bach and Council President Pro Tem Merv Bennett. "At their direction, the CIP Committee regrouped to review and prioritize the $2.7 billion in unfunded needs ..." While the memo doesn't say what period of time the $2.7 billion was expected to cover, Neumann and Bach have said in prior statements the original CIP list spanned 20 years.)
 
Anyway, see the proposal here, starting on page 13:


 WORKSESSION130812-1.pdf

Among the committee members were Bobby Ingels of Nor’wood; Paul Kleinschmidt of Taxpayers for Budget Reform; retired businessman Robert Shonkwiler; consultant Kevin Walker; and City Councilors Helen Collins and Andy Pico. The committee also included city employees Sue Autry from the Police Department; Katie Canfield and Angie Hoffman, Budget; Leslie Hickey, Fire Department; Jesse James, Information Technology; Stuart King, Public Works, and Jeff Webb, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.

It's worth noting that Springs voters approved a special capital improvement tax in the 1980s, but after anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce came to town, voters voted to phase it out in 1991. Bruce also led the campaign to impose revenue caps through city and state ballot measures. Those TABOR laws required the city to refund revenue if it exceeded a ceiling based on population growth and the consumer price index. The result was less money to spend, and a growing backlog of needs ranging from roadwork to bridges to storm drains to building maintenance and on and on.

Here's a slide from the presentation, outlining the capital needs backlog. "Fiscal responsibility," said to require $13.3 million, isn't defined in the slide presentation.

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