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Casino joins arena, police test cameras, and more

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Casino joins arena

The Broadmoor World Arena, which has shown losses in recent years, has inked a deal with the Double Eagle Hotel and Casino, announced Nov. 10.

Double Eagle runs a casino and hotel in Cripple Creek. For an undisclosed sum, it becomes an "official sponsor through 2017," the World Arena said in a news release, and also gets to "rebrand" the arena's Wigand Room as "Double Eagle Casino Lounge."

Broadmoor World Arena general manager Dot Lischick in a news release called the deal "the royal flush" for a venue relationship. The terms were not disclosed.

In April, the arena, which was built with donations and opened in 1998, announced a deal for undisclosed terms to give AEG Facilities a venue services agreement and to rename the facility the Broadmoor World Arena. AEG is owned by entertainment tycoon Philip Anschutz, who also owns The Broadmoor.

The arena reported losses of $6.65 million from 2009 to 2012, according to IRS filings. It showed a profit of $622,000 in 2013. — PZ

Police test cameras

Last Friday, the Colorado Springs Police Department showed off some of the 12 body cameras officers are testing. There are five models from three companies.

With a public wary of tense situations like those that have unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri, the goal of the program is both improved accountability and better evidence-gathering.

"I don't know if there was a specific incident [that sparked the trial]," says spokesman Sgt. Jim Sokolik. "That's kind of a very standard trend nationwide."

Tests will continue for around five months. Sokolik says a decision has not yet been made on rolling the program out further.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says it's researching body cameras, but none are deployed on the streets. — BC

Pension costs shift

Mayor Steve Bach has been beating the drum for three years over the high cost to taxpayers of the Public Employees' Retirement Association, which provides pensions for 1,325 city workers. But a new audit shows that PERA isn't costing the city nearly as much as pensions for police and firefighters, whose ranks Bach has expanded in the last three years.

According to the audit, released in October, PERA accounted for 60 percent of the city's pension costs in 2003; police and fire, 40 percent. But in 2013, that ratio had been reversed, with PERA at 34 percent and police and fire at 66 percent.

The city contributes 13.7 percent of salaries to PERA, while it contributes up to 19.6 percent for firefighters and up to 22.3 percent for cops through separate plans.

Bach proposes to add another 42 firefighters and 66 police officers next year, according to his 2015 budget proposal, after already swelling police ranks by 31 people since 2012, according to budget documents.

Bottom line: The city paid $16.8 million in pension costs in 2013, a 243 percent increase over 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, two public safety pension plans have closed to new enrollees, which should mean the city will over time pay less for police and fire through a statewide fund to which the city will contribute 9.3 percent of salaries. — PZ

Stormwater support mapped

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office has released a map showing where the stormwater ballot measure failed.

Stormwater measures fail repeatedly because most people live in neighborhoods that aren't affected by flooding, we were told last week, after the measure flopped, by Larry Small, executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.

With the map's release, it's clear that Small's explanation holds water. Colorado Springs rejected the measure (48 percent approval) as did Fountain (45 percent), and unincorporated El Paso County (41 percent). But Manitou Springs, which has been hard-hit by floods, approved it with 65 percent of the vote.

The map, which can be viewed at car.elpasoco.com, shows the measure passed on the west side from the Air Force Academy to the north, in the downtown neighborhoods on the east, and Fort Carson on the south. Those are the areas most heavily impacted by flooding.

Only a few other blocks of green interrupt a sea of red. — JAS

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