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Re: “Another look at Utilities governance

Experts and full-time employees are needed within CSU. Non expert part-time watchers and reviewers of CSU are needed outside CSU. The present arrangement of city council being the watchers and reviewers is best for COS.

Cassiani and his band of insiders want to take control away from city council - who represent US - so that they can decommission Drake and dispense with cheap coal. They believe building a new plant out of sight of tourists and young professionals and rich retirees is essential in order to develop the URA zone adjacent to Drake. They believe tenants will not rent space in the skyscrapers they intend to build if Drake spoils the view between downtown and Pikes Peak. They believe getting rid of Drake and building a stadium will be the cure for COS economic woes. They believe in a mirage-

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by curious on 10/24/2014 at 11:03 AM

Re: “Marijuana 'incidents' on the rise at Manitou Springs High School

Change in the prevailing "regime truth" is hard for many. Working in schools there is actually less focus or interest on cannabis and carving out reports of juvenile banter or references is not credible. But of course KKTV is about generating eyeballs for their advertisers and that is about controversy, and of course this appears two weeks before a vote is no mistake or coincidence, esp when there is nothing but conjecture, innuendo, rumor and unsubstantiated data...that is the American Way. BTW watched KKTV news anchor try to shade and create controversy at the Gov debate, confronted the anchor afterward and he said he was simply doing his job, i asked and what job is that, accuracy and credibility or something else, he glared, not happy with the local MSM on TV here.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by RWN on 10/24/2014 at 9:03 AM

Re: “Marijuana 'incidents' on the rise at Manitou Springs High School

Even if the number of "incidents" did supposedly go up, it wouldn't have anything to do with retail marijuana in Manitou. It's not like Maggie's Farm is at fault; they aren't letting kids walk in and buy pot. It's almost a little unfortunate that they were even referenced in the article, as there are bound to be some that will see that and think it means they are the cause of the problem.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jeff DeWitt on 10/24/2014 at 8:22 AM

Re: “Another look at Utilities governance…

*… (Governance White Paper)

*…, (Governance White Paper, Jan 19, 2011 Board meeting - begins on page 76)

*…, (UPAC recommendations, Feb 15, 2012 Board meeting - begins on page 83)

*(From Governance White paper page 25)
Appendix A: Recommendations from Consultants and Citizen
Associated Utility Consultants report 1993
Place a Board of Utilities Commissioners between the City Council and CSU. (High priority)
In contemplating a revised organizational arrangement for CSU, we reviewed a number of
municipally-operated utilities with characteristics similar to CSU. In addition, research, studies
and data collected by utility associations and others relative to the most optimal organizational
configuration and working relationship for CSU and its policy body were reviewed.
Alternatives identified include a direct reporting relationship of CSU to the City Council (status
quo), an Advisory Board, a Management Board, privatization of the gas and electric utilities, or
privatization of all four utilities, with capital recovery of a significant magnitude to the City.
Review and analyses were also conducted of the work of the City of Colorado Springs Charter
Review Commissions over the years, and of the most recent deliberations of the 1992 Charter
Review Commission. Throughout this research and analysis, a business versus political
perspective was employed.
Research of 13 municipally owned and operated utilities with similar characteristics to Colorado
Springs (e.g., population, form of government, customers, multiple utilities, complex operations,
etc.) indicated that a majority utilized a utilities board between the City Council and the utility.
The average life of such boards was 56 years, and about half required an initial charter
amendment to put them in place. The vast majority of these boards are appointed by the City
Council, with the qualifications of individual members being evenly split between those with
business experience and those who represent the diverse interests of the community. Residence
was required in some instances as well.
On average, board members served four-year terms of office, with some limitations to two terms.
In almost all cases, the board chair was elected by board members, and board members received
compensation for their service ranging from none to $9,000 annually, with $2,800 annually being
the average. The number of board members ranged from 3 to 11, with 5 being the average.
In a majority of cases, the Utility Director or General Manager was selected and appointed by the
board. The General Manager most frequently served at the pleasure of the board, but a
contractual arrangement was used in some cases.
Advantages of a board are as follows:
* Relieve Council from extensive time commitment and obligation to acquire high level of
technical knowledge
* Assist the utilities with strategic direction by having the time and expertise to develop a
unique and specialized understanding of issues
Governance Alternatives
* Offer an additional process for public input
* Provide a buffer to Council on sensitive issues
* Act as a forum for public education regarding utility issues
* Provide Council with an additional perspective on utilities
Disadvantages include:
* Removal of direct control of utilities from the overall policy-making body of the City
* Possibly elongate the decision process on rate and debt issues.
The above research results are consistent with our secondary research from various utility
associations and like organizations. We also found from our analysis that the present Financial
Advisory Committee to CSU does not provide all of the advantages described above.

*Charter Review Committee 2005
6-10. Utilities Governance This section was removed entirely and four new subsections 6-10.(a) thru
6-10.(d) were added. RATIONALE: In an effort to reduce Council members' workload and yet maintain
accountability of Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to the citizens, we propose that Council appoints a
separate Utilities Board but that Council will still have the final say over CSU budget and rates.
(a) Organization of the Utilities Board. "City Council shall appoint a separate Utilities Board consisting
of not more than fifteen (15) members who shall be appointed to staggered terms. The initial board shall
have its members appointed for varying terms to achieve the staggered succession of members. The
board shall serve at the pleasure of City Council. The board shall adopt its own by-laws subject to the
approval of City Council." RATIONALE: In response to presentations from CSU and various surveys
that we reviewed, we determined the Board should be comprised of approximately 9 members. The
Board should contain representatives from the following professional sectors: financial, local business,
accounting, engineering and a local attorney with utility experience. In order to promote diversity, the
Board should also have citizen ratepayer members. However, we also decided that these specifications
should not be written into the Charter. Council should determine the number of Board members, their
make-up, length of service and whether they should receive a stipend. Committee Vote: 19 in favor; 2
(b) Duties of the Utilities Board. "Subject to the general supervision and control of City Council, and to
the extent provided by law, the supervision and management of Utilities shall be vested in the Utilities
Board. The Board's powers and duties shall include but not be limited to the appointment of the Utilities
Director who shall serve at the pleasure of the Utilities Board, and the authority to recommend rates,
charges and regulations for services provided by Utilities through rate cases and recommend approval of
the budget to City Council. The Utilities Board shall be empowered to do all things not in conflict with
the City Charter, City Code or other applicable laws, for the operation, maintenance and development of
27 Governance Alternatives
utilities." RATIONALE: The new Board will have all the powers and duties of the previous Board (City
Council) except that it will RECOMMEND rates, charges, regulations for services, and approval of the
budget - for City Council's ultimate approval. The new board will appoint the CSU Director.
(c) Duties of City Council. "City Council shall retain jurisdiction for Utilities for all other legislative
matters, including the authority to pass ordinances, issue revenue bonds, institute eminent domain
proceedings, set rates, charges and regulations for services provided by Utilities, appropriate funds and
adopt annual budgets, approve intergovernmental agreements or as otherwise required by the Colorado
Constitution, the City Charter or other controlling law." COMMENT: We recommend that City Council
retain jurisdiction for all legislative matters and intergovernmental agreements of CSU. Committee Vote
for (b) and (c): 17 in favor; 1 opposed;
1 abstention
(d). Duties and Powers of Utilities Director. "Except as otherwise set forth in this Charter, the Utilities
Director shall appoint, suspend or remove any City employee subject to the Utilities Directors direction
and supervision. The Utilities Director may authorize any administrative officer who is subject to the
Utilities Director's direction and supervision to exercise these powers with respect to subordinates in that
officer's department, office or agency. Employees of Utilities shall remain City employees."
COMMENT: The duties and powers of the Utilities Director are to remain unchanged. Committee Vote:
19 in favor; 2 opposed
6-20. Definitions. The word "Utility" is changed to the word "Utilities". RATIONALE: This is a cleanup
item. Committee Vote: 21 in favor; 0 opposed
6-40. (a) Utilities - Accounting - Reserves. The requirement to place revenues and deduct expenses of
each Utility System into the Utilities Gross Income Fund remains unchanged; as does the requirement that
Utilities funds should be kept separate from other funds of the City. RATIONALE: The substance of this
clause was not changed but the language was cleaned up to suit other changes in the article. Committee
Vote: 14 in favor; 6 opposed

*Utilities Policy Advisory Committee Governance assignment 2007
Elected City Council officials also serve as members of the Utilities Board, governing Colorado
Springs Utilities, a municipally-owned enterprise. In the mid-1990s, City Council developed
interest in exploring a change in the form of Utilities governance due to:
* increasing challenge of guiding a larger and more complex organization;
* perceived difficulty in managing the many City Council responsibilities and priorities;
* competitive pressures demanding a more focused and responsive Board;
* legal and physical constraints in developing water resources;
* energy restructuring; and
* City Council term limitations.
Today these same pressures exist with the added uncertainty of market conditions for natural gas,
coal and electric purchases due to volatility in prices, an aging infrastructure, retention of
Governance Alternatives
qualified employees and an extensive capital project program to meet the demands of our
rapidly-growing community. For example: total assets have increased from $1.26 billion in 1993
to $2.85 in 2006, and employee count has grown from 1,610 in 1993 to 2,054 in 2006. Springs
Utilities customer base has grown during that same period from 434,859 meters served to
644,583; a 33 percent increase.
At the Board's direction, UPAC has reviewed Utilities current governance model based on
Policy Governance (Carver), studied other governance practices, reviewed APPA's 2001 and
2005 governance survey results, attended a presentation on Memorial Hospital's governance,
reviewed the City Charter, City Code, Utilities Board bylaws, and the 2007-2011 Strategic
Business Plan. Based on the above information and discussions, UPAC unanimously favors
modifications to current Utilities governance and RECOMMENDS:
Long-Term (five years):
* Appoint independent expert Board
o Appointees based on knowledge, experience, and time availability
* Independent Board regularly reports to City Council
* City Council maintains regulatory and rate setting authority
Near-Term (within one year):
* Modify existing governance model
* Facilitate engagement between Utilities Board and CEO to create mutual ownership on:
o Board-CEO Linkage
o Governance Process
o Executive Limitations
* Provide core curriculum education for all Board members
* Utilities Board elects Chair

*Sustainable Funding Committee 2009
Governance Model Consideration
The City Assets and Enterprises subcommittee unanimously endorses a recommendation to the
full Sustainable Funding Committee that the City Council Take the steps necessary to adopt a
change in governance of Colorado Springs Utilities to include replacement of the current
Utilities Board with the concurrent appointment of independent individuals with management
expertise in the several services fields (electric, natural gas, water and wastewater) and that such
transition be made as soon as practical, consistent with the general welfare of Colorado Springs
Utilities' organization, its employees and its customers.
The subcommittee's recommendation considers:
29 Governance Alternatives
+ The general welfare of the community and Colorado Springs Utilities' customer base
+The charge to the Sustainable Funding Committee to ensure, as much as practical, a
sustainable source of funds to the City entities consistent with the cost of providing
quality services
+The increasing size of the organization, its service area and customer base, as well as the
complexity of the regulatory and technical environment in which it operates
The subcommittee noted the following factors:
1. A four-service utility governed by elected public officials may place short term goals and
reaction to local economic conditions above the long term interest of the entity.
2. For the majority of municipal utilities similar in size to Colorado Springs Utilities,
governance is provided by independent boards, either appointed by their city council or
independently elected. The establishment of an independent board governing Colorado
Springs Utilities may provide the flexibility to optimize revenues consistent with the
philosophy of an independently owned utility. City Charter states the City Council by
ordinance or resolution establishes the rates.
3. Total assets of Colorado Springs Utilities have increased from $1.26 billion in 1993 to
$3.0 billion in 2008; Colorado Springs Utilities forecasts an additional $1.7 billion in
construction, including SDS in the next five years. Colorado Springs Utilities' customer
base has rapidly risen in that same period from 435,000 meters served in 1993 to 540,000
in 2008.
The subcommittee further notes that this proposal is the third such recommendation made to City
Council, which is consistent with, and follows, similar recent study groups recommendations:
2004 Charter Review Committee and 2007 Utilities Policy Advisory Committee. The
subcommittee also noted that a recent APPA survey indicates that CSU's governance model is an
anomaly as only 1 of 4 municipally-owned utilities with greater than 50,000 customers are
governed by a city council.

0 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by lisaczelatdko on 10/23/2014 at 11:11 PM

Re: “Another look at Utilities governance

We're posting the following on behalf of former Council President Scott Hente, who requested it be posted:

“Cassiani notes it's unusual for a utility to rely on a board that doesn't have expertise in fields pertinent to water, wastewater, gas and electric services.”

Actually, that’s not true.

The vast majority of corporate Boards (regardless of the industry) are not filled with members who have expertise in a particular organization’s products. Look at Apple, IBM, or Microsoft. While there are some insiders on those respective Boards, the vast majority of Board members do not have technology backgrounds. And the General Motors Board does not have a lot of car people. And the WalMart Board does not have a lot of retail people. And the...well, you get the idea.

But more specific to utilities. Look at the highly regarded Omaha Public Power District and its Board of Directors: a retired Police Officer, a Nurse, a Lobbyist, a Cattleman, an Educator, and three Lawyers. Or look at Xcel Energy’s Board of Directors: other than the CEO and one other individual with a nuclear energy background, it’s composed of a Health Care Professional, a Banker, a Mining Executive, a Food Company Executive, a Religious Leader, a Management Executive, a Beer Company Executive, and two Lawyers.

I think we’re forgetting what the role of a Board of Directors is. It’s to oversee the broad interests of the owners of an organization. It is not meant to duplicate the expertise that already exists within an organization but is to provide policy oversight and guidance to the strategic goals and purposes of an organization. And as most organizations have figured out, you can best do that with a diverse group of people who bring different skills, abilities, and talents to that oversight.

All of that being said, I do however, favor a different governance model for Colorado Springs Utilities. But not for the reasons presented by Mr. Cassiani.

In my last couple of months as the City Council President (as well as the Chairman of the Colorado Springs Utilities Board of Directors) I, along with then Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin, proposed a change to the City Charter as it pertained to CSU governance. While we were not successful in getting a proposed change on the ballot, we felt that the CSU Board should be separate from the City Council due to the significant time requirements of both the Council and the CSU Board. Unfortunately, many Council members over the years (to sometimes include me) have not given the CSU Board the time we should have simply due to the demands of being a Council member as well as the fact that many of us had to also devote time to our individual occupations. And that was, and is, unfortunate, especially considering the fact that the CSU budget is three to four times what the City’s budget is.

I believed then, and I still do, that our Community and our local utility company would best be served by having a separate Board that is elected by the voters (who are the owners of CSU) to oversee the management ad strategic vision of Colorado Springs Utilities. And let the voters/owners decide on a Board based on how well they perceive candidates to be in the oversight of utility matters.

We don’t need utility experts. We need smart individuals with a high degree of common sense who will keep our community and our utility strong and moving forward .

Scott Hente

18 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Pam Zubeck on 10/23/2014 at 4:20 PM

Re: “Maggie's Farm does $2 million in marijuana sales in Manitou Springs

Irbid that's a tax that goes directly to manitou on top of the state tax

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Edward Knight on 10/23/2014 at 2:20 PM

Re: “Marijuana 'incidents' on the rise at Manitou Springs High School

I honestly don't think that there is a significant increase of teen usage of marijuana after implementation of legal medical or recreational marijuana in Colorado. I think the numbers may appear to be more, because the subject has come to the forefront and data is needed by both sides to prove their respective points. Since more people are paying attention to teen usage and looking for ways to blame legalization for the supposed increase, it looks like an uptick; when in fact it is probably just the same as it has ALWAYS been. Teens are going to find ways to get high and they have ready access to the same street drugs that they always have.

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by COnative59 on 10/23/2014 at 1:24 PM

Re: “Marijuana 'incidents' on the rise at Manitou Springs High School

KKTV's report had no evidence and only quoted Dr. Finn and Ms. Kilroy who are also Manitou residents campaigning against recreational marijuana. The school itself says the increase is because they started tracking Teacher claims of overhearing the word "Go get high". No one fact, or piece of evidence. This investigative report is more like an abuse of power. Dr. Ken Finn is well quoted, over a handful of times, in local media being against marijuana and Kari Kilroy, while the board President of the El Paso County Health Department is also behind initiating the ballot issue against recreational marijuana. Obviously the school wasn't even prepared because they were not consulted at all for announcing to the media. This is a power play from people against marijuana. Shoddy statistics, tracking and looking for a reason to make it look like usage is up. The only increase is more people using the words marijuana, weed, pot and high.

17 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by TruB on 10/23/2014 at 1:19 PM

Re: “An interesting twist in the GMO debate

Has anyone ever tried to insert real science about GMO's into any discussion on a anti-GMO blog, magazine, etc. It is blocked or removed asap. Pot meet kettle.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Robert Wager on 10/23/2014 at 8:01 AM

Re: “Against a downtown city stadium? Sign here

If you want a voice on whether our local government should spend hundreds of millions of our dollars on a stadium, come sign a petition this Saturday, October 25th, at City Hall from 12-4:00. City Hall is located at 107 N Nevada Ave.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Anita Laydon Miller on 10/23/2014 at 7:44 AM

Re: “Air Canada talked about us!

Will be visiting Colorado springs 12/29-12/31 with my family. Have visited during summer and enjoyed garden of the gods and the cog railway as well as walking in Manitou springs.

Posted by Maria Smith on 10/23/2014 at 5:57 AM

Re: “UPDATE: C4C Downtown stadium: 10K or 8K seats?

I think it's fine to have some misgivings about a stadium/arena/what have you. However, I hear nothing from the anti- crowd except what they don't want. It's time for them to ante up and provide some concrete positive suggestions about what to do to get the city moving again.

It's easy to tear down when building a political career. Not so easy to talk about what to do to make a future possible for a community of 600,000. Right now, our children are leaving in droves because there are no jobs for them. It's a problem that will not go away.

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Clara McKenna on 10/23/2014 at 2:11 AM

Re: “UPDATE: C4C Downtown stadium: 10K or 8K seats?

If you want a voice on whether our local government should spend hundreds of millions of our dollars on a stadium, come sign a petition this Saturday, October 25th, at City Hall from 12-4:00. City Hall is located at 107 N Nevada Ave.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Anita Laydon Miller on 10/22/2014 at 11:10 PM

Re: “An interesting twist in the GMO debate

Thank you for that unbiased and truthful info. We just want to know what is in our food. We have the right to not be guinea pigs in this GMO food experiment. There hasn't been sufficient long term studies to prove them safe for consumption. Over 75% of food in grocery stores would have a label so consumers would have a choice.

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Tracey Privitera on 10/22/2014 at 9:04 PM

Re: “More on stormwater measure

In an attempt to counter misinformation about the Stormwater issue facing voters, the Stormwater Task Force co-chairs penned an article in the Oct 12 Gazette. After reading that article and attending the open forum sponsored by the El Pomar Foundation on 16 Oct, let me also try to clear up some information starting with the fee vs tax issue.

In their article, the co-chairs referred to a Colorado Supreme Court case, Bloom v. Breckenridge, as precedence for proceeding with the Stormwater Fee instead of some other tax. After searching for and not finding that case, I came across Bloom v. Fort Collins, 1989. In this case, the City of Fort Collins established a “Transportation Utility Fee” based on the linear frontage of developed property adjacent to a city street which is “reasonably related to expenses incurred…” by the city to maintain roads – as if there is a relationship between the frontage of developed property and the amount of pot holes that occur. The ruling also states that “mathematical exactitude is not required…” and it is basically up to the city and its legislation how it chooses to assess and collect said fee.

Following that logic, a city could assess a fee for using all the traffic signals. Someone could devise an “average usage” formula involving the average number of times a person transits through an intersection controlled by a traffic signal. Since this could be a fee and not a tax, it could be implemented without voter approval and perhaps added to all vehicle registrations for those residing in the affected jurisdiction – say City of Colorado Springs. These precedents are dangerous.

What the Colorado Supreme Court didn’t do is clearly delineate what is normal mandatory city infrastructure that should be paid for through operating budgets and collected taxes and what are clearly voluntary “user fees” with a DIRECT relationship between the user and the service provided. An example of a direct, voluntary transportation user fee is the E-470 Toll Road. If I choose to use that road instead of using I-225 to get to DIA, I pay the associate user fee. Otherwise, I can avoid that fee by using alternate routes. The key to fee versus tax should be individual voluntary usage versus mandatory provision of basic infrastructure. Drainage is a basic infrastructure – particularly in our area with such changes in elevation through the region.

Some who support the PPRDA also believe that, based on the Colorado Supreme Court decision, the funding mechanism MUST be a fee. The court case is not directive on assessing fees….it is permissive. That means, if a city can “reasonably” draw the relationship between users and affected infrastructure, the city CAN assess a special fee. The city can ALWAYS choose to fund that infrastructure by taxes; however, choosing a fee system, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled, is not a violation of State Law. Again though, the focus should be on voluntary user fees versus taxes for mandatory infrastructure. Some argue “why should we care?”…it is a small amount of money either way.

Colorado gives taxpayers direct input into the assessment of taxes through the Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR). The PPRDA Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) provides for a board of directors consisting of 11 elected officials who are APPOINTED by their respective jurisdictions (except for the Mayor of Colorado Springs who is a de facto board member). This Board has the power through Super Majority to change the allocation of funds (55% capital, 35% maintenance, 10% emergency), albeit for only one year, but without direct consent of the voters. The IGA also allows for the IGA to be amended with the agreement of all parties except for addition or deletion of parties and/or territory. That means that, without direct consent of the voters, ANY OTHER PART of the IGA can be amended with the agreement of all parties – not board members – including the fee structure. This is NOT direct input from the citizens of the affected areas into the functions of the PPRDA; rather, it is indirect appointment along with the many their many other duties. For the citizens to have a direct say in how to fund PPRDA, a tax method following TABOR should be the preferred solution. This, however, is not being offered for a vote.

Drainage is vital piece of basic infrastructure. I agree with the regional approach. I agree that it needs to be fixed. I don’t agree with the funding mechanism selected. Drainage is so important that it should be considered a basic part of city and county infrastructure to the point that it is funded and protected out of operating budgets and collected taxes and controlled directly by the voters - and NOT by a special fee. I do not want the precedence set in El Paso County or the City of Colorado Springs that we permit the use of fees for basic infrastructure.

6 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Jim Czirjak on 10/22/2014 at 8:40 PM

Re: “Marijuana 'incidents' on the rise at Manitou Springs High School

People who have kids in Manitou and think their kids will be free from the devil weed REALLY need to step away from their keyboards and talk to their kids. As a nearly-40-year-old woman with no kids, I should not know more about Manitou's teen drug use than their parents.

14 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Judith Posch on 10/22/2014 at 6:57 PM

Re: “UPDATE: C4C Downtown stadium: 10K or 8K seats?

After last nights meeting, I'm thinking we could go even larger than 10K. This decision should not be done by speculation alone. I know that the business plan is in the works but I believe that the business plan might even be bigger than some suspect! I am very excited about this project. It has teeth!!

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by Justin Burns on 10/22/2014 at 6:06 PM

Re: “Marijuana 'incidents' on the rise at Manitou Springs High School

They are taking 1 months stats and using full school years to compare the numbers... #ReallyBadAtStatistics... #thatsNotHowThisWorks...

15 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Erin Ford on 10/22/2014 at 4:43 PM

Re: “Against a downtown city stadium? Sign here

see for alternatives to a downtown stadium

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by wpmurrayIII on 10/22/2014 at 2:51 PM

Re: “Calling the shots

"one thing I do not question is my duty to protect this boy ..."

The irony of the juxtaposition of this statement with what follows-- allowing a scalpel to be raised to his healthy, normal genitals to rip, cut, crush, and slice off parts -- is astounding. Sorry if that comes off harsh, but It would be derelict not to point this out.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by TaillessFox on 10/22/2014 at 12:06 PM

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