The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance Military Affairs Council (MAC) and the Army invite you to Wear green and support Fort Carson!Keep-Carson-Strong_1-27-15.pdf
The Department of the Army is conducting a Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment and is attending listening sessions across the U.S. Find out how you can support Fort Carson in this process on the Business Alliance website, or read more below. Read full news release.
A Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment is necessary to meet the Army’s statutory obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.) and to help inform stationing decisions and potential Congressional notification requirements under 10 U.S.C. § 993.To add perspective, after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Army built up to 570,000 soldiers. By September 2015, that number will be reduced to 490,000. Due to budget constraints, a further reduction to 450,000 is expected, and sequestration — automatic budget cuts built into a budgeting bill a few years ago — could cause yet another cut to 420,000.
NEPA requires the Army to consider the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of its actions and proposed alternatives and to involve the public. The NEPA process provides Army decision-makers with information on the environmental and socioeconomic impact that may result from the realignment of Army units, to include the concerns of the public and stakeholder organizations. This analysis allows decision-makers to compare and contrast the environmental impact at sites proposed for unit restationing, force restructuring, and unit deactivations. The PEA process is also designed to inform the public of potential environmental and socioeconomic effects associated with the proposed action and to provide the public with an opportunity to provide feedback.
Environmental impacts associated with the implementation of the proposed action include impacts to air quality, cultural resources, biological resources, noise, soil erosion, wetlands, water resources, facilities, socioeconomics, energy demand, land use, hazardous materials and waste, and traffic and transportation.
While not required by law, the Army will conduct community listening sessions at the 30 installations that could potentially be affected by cuts. These sessions are designed to enable community members to provide their concerns and perspectives, and will help Army senior leaders to make informed, yet difficult, decisions regarding force structure changes. These are not question and answer sessions – we are there to hear the community’s voice, and we welcome anything participants have to say.
These listening sessions are in complete compliance with Federal Law, which specifically prohibits lobbying by Active Duty soldiers.
Today City Council, on second reading, approved the annexation of the property located at 3445 Marksheffel Road which is home to one of the largest global providers of products and services for the oil and gas industries, Weatherford International. Weatherford sought the annexation to enable Colorado Springs Utilities to provide new and upgraded utility service necessitated by an expansion of its existing facility. The annexation will further enhance Weatherford’s expansion and the hiring of 84 manufacturing employees.
“We are grateful to Weatherford for making this investment in our community and for adding 84 quality manufacturing jobs to the city. This is a great example of collaboration among Weatherford, Colorado Springs Utilities, City Planning, City Economic Vitality, City Planning Commission, and City Council," said Mayor Steve Bach.
Headquartered in Switzerland, Weatherford International is one of the largest global providers of products and services that span the drilling, evaluation, completion, production and intervention cycles of oil and natural gas wells. It operates in more than 100 countries across the globe and employs more than 58,000 people. Weatherford International has operated in the Pikes Peak region since 2001 to manufacture piping to serve the oil and gas industry.
The United States Olympic Museum announced today that it has signed a 30-year agreement with the United States Olympic Committee, renewable in 10-year increments.
Richard Celeste, President of the U.S. Olympic Museum Board of Directors, stated, “This agreement is the result of nearly two years of effort on the part of a group of dedicated citizens who share a vision of building a world-class museum dedicated to the values of the Olympic and Paralympic movements and the efforts and achievements of the U.S. athletes of the modern games. We are grateful to the leadership of the USOC for the confidence they have placed in us. We will strive to achieve the same level of excellence in the planned museum experience that characterizes the very best of our Olympians and Paralympians.”
The agreement acknowledges that the non-profit U.S. Olympic Museum was formed to develop, build, own and operate a state-of-the-art, iconic museum in downtown Colorado Springs to include:
1) A curated collection of historically significant artifacts associated with the United States’ participation in the Olympic and Paralympic Games
2) Interactive exhibits with video and audio presentations, facilities for temporary exhibitions and permanent collections relating to the U.S. and global Olympic and Paralympic movements to immerse visitors in the drama and exhilaration of Olympic and Paralympic competition, and capacity to host special celebrations and events
3) Home to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame dedicated to American athletes who have followed their dreams
Scott Blackmun, CEO of the USOC stated, “The agreement reached this week ensures that the U.S. Olympic Museum will be the type of world-class experience that fans of Team USA and the Olympic and Paralympic Games expect, and we’re pleased to contribute to the museum’s long-term success. I’d like to thank Dick Celeste for his tireless efforts on behalf of the museum and his continued commitment to making the Pikes Peak region an even better place to live and work.”
Celeste added, “With the signing of this agreement, the effort to raise the funding required to move forward will begin in earnest. Our goal is to secure at least $70 million in private donations in order to build an inspiring and extraordinarily dynamic venue. In the process, we believe this can significantly lift tourism visits to Colorado Springs, kick-start activity in the Southwest Urban Renewal Area, and ideally create a corridor that links downtown directly into America the Beautiful Park.”
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach stated, "This is a significant milestone in the process of building a United States Olympic Museum in Colorado Springs. I appreciate the efforts of the United States Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Museum Corporation in completing this agreement. We are proud to be the home of the USOC and a future Olympic Museum and we are truly becoming America’s Olympic City."
The study found that contracting with private corporations generally reduces worker wages and benefits, which leads to a host of negative effects for the community at large:”There is a wealth of evidence that outsourcing public jobs often diminishes quality without substantial cost reduction," Greenwood says in the release. "Unfortunately, few states and cities have a serious oversight process to let citizens evaluate what is happening. Elected officials often talk about wanting to boost the economy and create opportunity. But many don’t realize how the decisions they control can contribute to the problem... or be part of the solution.”
• Reduced spending in local communities and declining retail sales
• Risks to public health and safety with less experienced employees and more bureaucracy
• Fewer opportunities for middle-class jobs and upward mobility
• Higher wage gaps between men and women and blacks and whites
• More workers and retirees on public assistance, especially in female-headed households
• Larger share of “at risk” children in low-income families
To help leaders assess the full impacts of outsourcing decisions on their own communities, the report includes a guide for calculating the social and economic consequences to a state or community. Examples of statutes that address broader economic and social issues are included.
Governments across the country are exploring more outsourcing based on long‐term pension obligations. Getting out of pension obligations is the reason city officials in Colorado Springs give for contracting out many services this year. Following a one year experiment in contracted snowplowing where audited costs were 489% higher than in areas the city plowed, the mayor’s office plans to expand the experiment and make it longerGreenwood goes on to note there's a cost to everyone for slashing pensions:
term to get “enough data to analyze it.” All this, for some savings on pensions?
State and local governments need to keep the big picture in mind. Terminating or sharply reducing worker pensions will have a whole series of negative effects on local economies, well‐being and the sustainability of existing pension funds. The short‐term effects of eliminating or reducing pensions may appear quite small, since many workers will not be immediately affected. But the movement away from traditional ‘defined benefit’ pensions has already put more senior citizens at risk. 16.4% of older households without a defined benefit pension received food stamps, rent subsidies, energy assistance or supplemental social security (SSI), averaging $6,494 per household. This was over triple the rate (4.7%) of cash transfers for older households with a defined benefit pension.
City for Champions is looking forward to the Dec. 4 presentation to the state’s Economic Development Commission and providing the commissioners information and analysis that demonstrate the positive impact of City for Champions for the state, city, county and region. The third-party analyst report by Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS) is a component in the Regional Tourism Act process, and the group’s input is helpful. In particular, our response to the EPS report gave us the opportunity to make a great application even better by adding context and detail about the Colorado Sports and Event Center and the UCCS Sports Medicine and Performance Center. Our application has become stronger through this process, and we are ready to make our case to the commissioners.
No funding participation from the USAF has been identified, although the Application states that there are no federal funds available for this type of project, and as a result of military downsizing, this project would likely have a low priority. No funding commitments for the private funds have been identified, although it is noted that the USAFA Endowment is beginning an extensive capital campaign.
The Applicant’s consultants met with representatives from the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) in Colorado Springs and other sports management groups to estimate the number of annual events, athletes and other visitors (coaches, family/friends, spectators) that the proposed Colorado Sports Events Center (CSEC) could attract. Included in the Supplemental Material, an analysis by Summit Economics estimates 53 annual events as follows. The NGBs estimate that 9 new NGB-sponsored events could be brought to Colorado Springs, and 23 events could be brought back to Colorado that are currently held elsewhere. The Applicant would target an
additional 15 multisport organizations (a wide range of sporting activities) and other large national events averaging 6.2 per year considering that some may not come to Colorado Springs every year, and some are more competitive to attract.
Within the “New Non-Olympic Events” category, the Applicant is assuming that major events such as the X Games and the Mountain Dew Tour will be recruited each year. These are highly competitive and sought after events.
The facility would also target sports conferences and gatherings estimated at an average of 3.6 events per year. Among all athletes, 80 percent are estimated to be from outside Colorado based on information from the NGBs, and 73 percent of accompanying coaches, trainers, family/friends/spectators, are from outside Colorado.
The status of the Museum’s funding commitment and development readiness is summarized below, from information provided in the Original Application and in the Supplemental Material.
Nor’wood Development provided a letter to OEDIT indicating its “enthusiastic commitment to sell, lease, condominiumize or otherwise convey the property needed for these amazing anchor venues”. Earlier in the process, it was reported that Nor’wood owned the Museum site, and that the other required sites for the Stadium and Sports Events Center were not owned or controlled by the Project Team. The status of land ownership, options, or other commitments is not clear.
The funding and financing plan does not contain any specific funding commitments from individuals, foundations, the USOC, or the City. The Application does contain letters of interest from two foundations, the Chapman Foundation and the El Pomar Foundation. Specific funding commitments are not made, but a high level of interest in receiving a funding request is stated.
A letter from Mayor Steve Bach indicates the City’s intent to utilize its bonding capacity to fund a portion of the City for Champions projects.
A letter from four of nine City Council members states that they do not support increasing the City’s indebtedness or committing increases in General Fund revenues or expenses to the Project without a vote from the citizens of Colorado Springs approving such financial commitments.
A letter from the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority (CSURA) supporting the Application. The letter cites a Resolution that approves CSURA’s involvement in the City For Champions Project and its intention to utilize CSURA’s tax increment financing powers. The current Urban Renewal Plan estimates TIF capacity of $50 million in bonds. No documentation on the timing of these TIF revenues and bonding capacity was provided. TIF bonding capacity estimates are often based on real estate development projections which are highly uncertain. The CSURA is an arms-length independent agency of the City. Only one of CSURA Board Members is also on the City Council.
RTA funds are assumed to provide the initial funding and financing source. The Applicant proposes to raise other public, private, and philanthropic funds after RTA funds are approved.
An operating pro-forma was submitted rather than a project development pro-forma. A project development pro forma would include land and construction costs, estimates of other funding and financing sources, operating revenues, debt service, and the resulting funding/ financing gap for the project with and without the RTA funds. EPS therefore could not evaluate the project’s financial need given the uncertainties in the funding and cost assumptions.
In an effort to effectively rebrand the state, Making Colorado isn't playing around. The initiative, launched just last month, wants to incorporate as much public input as possible. And in order to cast a wide net, it's enlisting the help of one high school junior from each of Colorado's 64 counties.
Each teen would be an ambassador of the program and keep their hometowns and county residents apprised of progress in the branding process. They'll publish information on MC on social media and also supply MC with a "multi-media story that showcases what makes their community special, which will be highlighted on the Making Colorado blog."
These go-betweens will not only learn some valuable ombudsman-esque experience, but interact with the MC branding team through webinars happening this summer "to learn about marketing and social media strategy from some of Colorado’s top professionals in the industry." And a lucky few will be selected to serve on MC's Making Colorado Brand Council, where they'll learn from the pros firsthand.
Being a junior and a Colorado resident are the only stipulations, and you can nominate teens (or yourself, oh precocious one) easily through the MC website. Applications will be accepted through June 6.