Thursday, February 13, 2014

Murray is snooping through C4C documents

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Bill Murray ran for the District 2 City Council seat last year but dropped out mid-stream, throwing support to Joel Miller, who was elected.

Miller has been the most vocal critic of the City for Champions tourism venture, repeatedly asking for more financial data.
click to enlarge Murray: He's nosing around in the City for Champions paperwork.
  • Murray: He's nosing around in the City for Champions paperwork.

Like Miller, Murray, who retired as a colonel after 32 years in the Army, is on a mission. He wants to know more about the C4C, and he's been successful in getting some answers. Which, in turn, raise more questions.

For example, he recently obtained some documents from the city's proposal submitted to the state Economic Development Commission (he got them from the EDC). The documents contain a pro forma of how many tourists can be expected to pack the stands at the downtown sports events center, which is the most expensive of the four projects proposed, at $92.7 million. (The others are a downtown Olympic museum, a sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a new visitors center at the Air Force Academy.)

These are among the documents, by the way, that Mayor Steve Bach and others refuse to give to City Council members unless they sign a non-disclosure agreement to not reveal what they see in those documents.

Anyway, Murray studied the documents and discovered some interesting discrepancies. For one thing, in its summary of outdoor and indoor uses by Olympic National Governing Bodies and "major organized sport entities," the city forecast that the 3,000-seat indoor arena would host 26 new events per year. Those events would draw 172,250 people, the pro forma said, for an average of 6,625 per event.

See anything wrong with that? Murray spotted this, as he notes in the margin, "How does this work with only 3,100 seats?"

Good question.

If you want to read more from that document, here ya go:

Att.A.pdf

He also received from the EDC another interesting document regarding the pro forms for the sports and events center. It's a Dec. 9 letter written to EDC commissioners from city economic vitality chief Bob Cope outlining some of the city's thinking behind seeking $120.5 million in state sales tax rebates, which the EDC approved in December.

In it, the city says the following, on page 6 of the document that we're attaching here: "Considering the operations of both the outdoor stadium and indoor venue, the overall cash flow from normalized operations is projected to be $232,517 per annum after funding a capital replacement reserve equal to .5% of the capital cost of the facilities." (The sports and events center will cost $92 million.)

Then, it continues: "Even with additional revenues from events such as club members, sponsors, and naming rights, these facilities will not generate sufficient cash flow to service debt."

Now skip to Page 11 of the letter and see this: "Additionally, if both series of bonds are issued by [Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority], voter approval is not technically required. However, the Mayor has specifically indicated that any bonds issued with a pledge of City general fund tax revenues will be placed before voters."

Urban renewal bonds are not general fund revenues.

Here's the document we're quoting from:

12_9_13_letter.pdf

We asked Cope, the city's point man for C4C, if he could explain the number of visitors expected to attend indoor arena events. We haven't heard back, but will update if and when we do.

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