Thursday, January 30, 2014

King's plan for City for Champions

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

click to enlarge King: Council should dig deep on City for Champions
  • King: Council should dig deep on City for Champions
One thing that surfaced on Wednesday during a City Council retreat was the question of how councilors might go about assessing the City for Champions proposal.

Council President Keith King
produced a lengthy outline that covers what should be considered, how and by which councilors serving on committees.

In essence, King proposed that Council members form committees to study citizen input, governance, finance and taxes of City for Champions. He even includes a list of meetings. 

King's idea will be discussed at a special Council meeting at 2 p.m. Monday in Council Chambers, City Hall.

Here are excerpts from the five-page document:
Proposed Structure
I believe that it is important for City Council to decide if it wants to develop its own guiding principles or positions for the City for Champions proposal. If it does, I believe this decision must be an open, and an accountable process. If we chose not to, we can let most of the decisions be made without our input, or we can analyze it with a full understanding of all the issues that surround the long term impact it will have on our city. Below are some philosophical decisions we must make as a Council. These decisions must be made on process and policy positions that we decide as a Council that will an impact the success or failure of the proposal. We can make the following choices: If we want the proposed structures of citizen input, governance, financing, taxing and management or if we want to change those. Depending on our involvement, we will need some input from experts on business development and sustainability. We will need experts on governance, and most of all, we will need to decide how we hear the voices of our citizens as we develop our positions and finalize our votes. Below are some of the issues that we will need to decide and some processes that we can follow. There are obviously more choices than these but this will us a framework to start from. We will pass a resolution(s) or ordinance(s) on where we stand on this proposal. It is our decision on how much we decide to impact those that is important. In the end, we will have decided what role we believe we need for this issue. That is a decision I hope we make very carefully. Listed below are some of my ideas for a starting point to begin the conversation.

Process Principles – Structure Committees
1. Structure City Council into four committees to receive input and draft resolutions concerning the proposal.
2. Committee structure would be 1) Citizen Input, 2) Governance, 3) Finance, and 4) Taxes
3. Each committee would be structured to: 1) Listen to citizens, 2) Receive expert advice, 3) Hold discussions, and 4) Make Decisions
4. Committees would hold approximately four meetings to accomplish their scope of work.
5. Council would take a final position on the proposal before the deadlines outlined in the state approval letter.

Committees
1. Citizen Input: Chair: Andy Pico, Vice chair: Merv Bennett, Members = Three or Four
2. Governance: Chair: Jan Martin, Vice chair: Joel Miller, Members = Three or Four
3. Finance: Chair: Don Knight, Vice Chair : Val Snider, Members = Three or Four
4. Taxes Chair: Jill Gaebler, Vice Chair: Helen Collins, Members = Three or Four
5. At Large Committee: All of Council to hear from: 1) Those in favor, 2) Those against, 3) Experts, Citizens

Meetings:
1. Monday, January 27th: Proponents, 9-12 am
2. Saturday, February 1st: Proponents 9-12 am, Town hall – Citizen Input 1-4 pm
3. Wednesday, February 5th: Governance Committee first meeting
4. Friday, February 7th: Citizen Input first meeting
5. Saturday, February 15th: Town Hall - Financing 9-12 am, town hall – Taxes 1-4 pm
6. Tuesday, February 18th: Finance Committee 9-12
7. Friday, February 21st: Tax Committee first meeting
8. Saturday, March 1s:t Citizen Input: 9-12

Each committee should have up to 4 meetings to: 1) Listen 2) Hold discussions 3) Draft a resolution 4) Present resolution to Council

Council Presentations of Committee Resolutions:
1. Work Session February 24th: Governance and Citizen Input
2. Work session: March 10th: Finance and Taxes
3. Council meeting votes: March 11th : Governance and Citizen Input
4. Council meeting votes: March 25th: Finance and Taxes
5. Council meeting votes: April 8th: Final Resolution

Structure of Committees:
1. All meetings will be open
2. Committees will take votes on resolutions to recommend to Council
3. Council will invite the Mayor, El Paso County Commissioners and City Council to all meetings and encourage collaboration.
4. The City Auditor will be asked to analyze the various economic risks that need addressed in the proposal.

Process Principles – Structure Council Meetings
1. Structure City Council as a whole committee for all the meetings to receive input and draft a resolution.
2. City Council would hold approximately four meetings to accomplish their scope of work.
3. Council would take a final position on the proposal before the deadlines outlined in the state approval letter.
Meetings
1. Monday, January 27th: Proponents, 9-12 am
2. Saturday, February 1st: Proponents 9-12 am, Town hall – Citizen Input 1-4 pm
3. Friday, February 14th: Town Hall - Financing 4-8 pm
4. Friday, February 21st: Taxes 4-8 pm
5. Saturday, March 1s:t Citizen Input: 9-12 am

Council Presentations of Committee Resolutions:
1. Council meeting votes: April 8th: Final Resolutions or Ordinances

Process Principles – Take Positions on the Major Issues at Council Meeting
1. Take positions on issues and then structure our positions based on those decisions
2. Draft resolutions and ordinances on issue and present them to the Advisory Committee and citizens.
3. Vote on final draft and passage of resolutions and ordinances on April 8th 

Decisions that we need to make:

1. Extent of citizen input
a. Town hall meetings
b. Vote on proposal
c. Vote on taxes
d. Limited involvement

2. Governance
a. Involvement in Advisory Committee
b. Involvement in RTA Contract
c. Management of specific projects
d. Private donation requirements
e. Growth of funding

3. Finances
a. Financial risks
b. Urban renewal district changes
c. Municipal bonds
d. Urban renewal bonds
e. Amount of TIF
f. Projects that receive TIF
g. Public financing

4. Taxes
a. Vote by the citizens
b. Sales tax
c. Tax Incremental Percentage
d. Impact on general fund
e. Allocation to projects

Possible Structure to accomplish goals:
1. Hire a temporary staff person to do minutes of committees, contact expert witnesses, and answer questions for Council members.
2. Hire polling firm to conduct a poll of a representative sample from each Council member’s district and at large.
3. Hire research firms as needed to evaluate the various aspects of the proposals
4. Conduct interviews with community members about specific aspects of the proposal.
5. Allocate up to $100,000 dollars for: 1) Accounting 2) Legal 3) Economic, and 4) Personnel to fully analyze proposal

Possible Principles that need discussed:

Citizen Input
1. The citizens of Colorado Springs need to be heard from on all aspects of the proposal.
2. The business community needs to be allowed to express their opinions.
3. Citizens need to be represented on the RTA advisory committee.
4. Once the plan has been completed, the City Council needs to allow the citizens to vote on the various aspects of the proposal that will use local tax dollars or fees to finance it.

Governance Principles
1. City Council needs to play a strategic role in governing the Regional Tourism Authority.
2. City Council is allowed to participate and appoint members to the RTA advisory committee.
3. The RTA contract needs reviewed and given input by Council before it is signed. Council needs to know what parts of the contract can be amended.
4. The specific projects need City Council review to be sure they have financing and equity structures that meet sound economic goals.
5. The specific projects must have a funding stream for the business operations once they are completed and operating.
6. The various phases of the C4C projects need City Council approval before proceeding.
7. City Council needs to needs to understand which organizations will receive the state or local Tax Incremental Financing.
8. City Council needs to approve any changes to urban renewal districts.

Financing
1. The RTA accounting needs to be fully transparent on income and expenditures.
2. The financing of the buildings of C4C needs to be done in the most economical way possible.
3. The business plans for each of the projects needs reviewed before approving the debt issuance is approved.
4. It needs determined how much municipal bonds would save if used instead of urban renewal authority bonds.
5. The payoff of general obligation bonds might provide a good funding stream for bonds to be issued that save taxpayers’ dollars and the city sales tax TIF.
6. The city TIF needs to be money what would have never have been available except for the C4C projects.
7. The private donation commitments for the projects must be firm commitments before the gap filling funding is appropriated.
8. The annual growth of the general fund must be at least 1.5 percent before funding is allowed for the C4C projects.

Taxes
1. The payment of bonds needs to come from the increase in sales tax revenues and not fees that local citizens must pay.
2. It needs determined how much taxes general obligation bonds could save.
3. Tax dollars used to retire the C4C projects debt must be approved by voters if given to a non-governmental entity.
4. The projects need reserves to safeguard the financial obligations of the bonds in down economic times.
5. A dedicated funding stream is needed as a guarantee for payment of the bonds if the C4C projects.
6. If the C4C projects are successful in generating new tax dollars, an amount equal to the RTA TIF can be given to the stormwater operation and maintenance or capital construction. An equal percentage can also be given to roads and bridges.


Let our decisions begin!

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