, a retired Army colonel who has been watching the City for Champions
project unfold, has written a letter to several state officials asking that a legal opinion be sought on whether the city's resolution to accept state money is a contract or not.
This is an important question, because if it's a contract, that means City Council
must approve it, not just Mayor Steve Bach
We checked with the Attorney General's office and heard back from spokesman David Blake
, who tells us in an e-mail, "As the Attorney for the state and it's agencies we are not in a position to provide citizens legal advice. We are not required to issue an opinion pursuant to a request you describe."
However, if the request for such an opinion came from a state agency, in this case the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, then an opinion would be issued.
We've asked the OEDIT if the Economic Development Commission, which voted to give the city $120.5 million in state sales tax revenues for the $250-million City for Champions project, is likely to seek an opinion.
We will report back if and when we hear something.
Here's Murray's letter:
July 21, 2014
Honorable John W. Suthers
Attorney General, Colorado Department of Law
Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center
1300 Broadway, 10th Floor, Denver, Colorado 80203
Ms. Leeann Morrill
First Assistant Attorney General
Public Officials Unit, State Services Section
Colorado Attorney General’s Office
1300 Broadway, 6th Floor, Denver, Colorado 80203
Mr Dick Monfort- Chairman
Mr Kenneth W. Lund –Executive Director , OEDIT
Board Members: Mr. Darius Allen, Mr. J.J. Ament, Ms Millete Birhanemaskel, Mr. Howard Gelt, Mr. Dwayne Romero, Mr. Bill Sisson, Mr. Charles Murphy, Ms Teresa Taylor.
Mr Jeff Kraft- Director of Business Funding and Incentives
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
1625 Broadway, Suite 2700 | Denver, CO 80202
As a citizen of Colorado Springs and the State of Colorado, I request a formal legal decision by the Colorado Office of Attorney General as to the nature of this agreement, as detailed below, and any subsequent rights and privileges that would apply within the charter of the City of Colorado Springs and applicable State laws.
(1) Does the City for Champions Resolution, when signed, become an Inter-Governmental Agreement, enforceable contract, or grant? Each of these have specific legal requirements within our City Charter (Resolutions do not require signatures, convey penalty nor taxing authority).
(2) Does the EDC have the authority to specify the Mayor or Mayor’s designee as implementers of this document based on its legal status (Inter-Governmental Agreement, enforceable contract, or grant)?
It should be clear that this resolution, when signed, is in fact an Intergovernmental Agreement that can only be signed by the Colorado Springs City Council. This definition is significant because this resolution details a governmental relationship between the City of Colorado Springs and the State of Colorado for the next 30 years. It also contractually binds both state and local entities to the transfer of future public tax monies, without the public’s right to vote on these issues.
The Mayor of Colorado Springs, without City Council knowledge nor approval, has applied for a contractual relationship with the State’s Economic Development Commission, for a City for Champions (C4C) project within the Regional Tourism Act, which commits the city to fund any shortfall, between the EDC award and final cost of any/all projects (approx. total $250,603,000).
The Colorado Office of Economic Development has determined, without merit or legal adjudication, that the Mayor of Applicant City (or the Mayor’s designee) is authorized to act for the Applicant City for purposes of implementing this Resolution pursuant to Art. 4, §10, of the Charter of the City of Colorado Springs.
However, the City of Colorado Springs Attorney has stated that approval of an Inter-governmental Agreement (“IGA”) through which governments may contract to cooperate with each other must be approved by the “legislative body or other authority having the power to approve,” C.R.S. § 29-1-203(1). (City Council)
Colorado Springs City Charter: 4-40.Specific Powers and Duties of the Mayor. The Mayor shall be responsible for all executive and administrative affairs of the City, except those reserved to Council herein, including but not limited to, the following: (1920; 1975; 2010)
Colorado Springs City Charter: 1.2.313(E): CONTRACTS: No City contract shall be approved or executed under this section unless and until sufficient funds have been appropriated by the City Council and are available for the contract. (Ord. 11-18)
a. “None of the Project elements have a detailed funding plan, committed capital structure, or development pro-forma which demonstrates their viability with RTA funding and their lack of viability without funding.” (EDC resolution Dec 16, 2013)
Colorado Springs City Charter (Charter § 7-20(b)): In its legislative role, Council is the lawmaker for the City and is responsible for: Providing by ordinance a system for the collection, custody, and disbursement of all public monies.
William P. Murray
3175 Soaring Bird Circle
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
(H) 719-590-4134 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For info on City for Champions, check out our report in May