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Ballot supporters organize

A campaign committee has formed to promote a ballot measure that would assess fees to fund stormwater projects.

Citizens for Responsible Stormwater Action was set up Aug. 21, two days after the Board of El Paso County Commissioners voted on firsts reading to submit to voters a measure to create the Pikes Peak Regional Drainage Authority.

The committee will be required to file finance reports on Oct. 14, Oct. 31 and Dec. 4. Its registered agent is Bob Gardner, a state representative, and the filing agent is Amber Jack, who runs a bookkeeping service. — PZ

Clerk's office will run ads

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office plans to spend $50,000 this election season on radio and TV ads.

Clerk spokesperson Ryan Parsell says the ads will tell voters of electoral changes made by the state Legislature last year. Parsell says Clerk Wayne Williams will not be named in the ads, and it's unlikely that even the clerk's office will be named. He says Williams wants to avoid any chance that the ads can be seen as a veiled campaign effort for his run for secretary of state.

The ads will likely begin in September. The first round will encourage voters to update their registrations to ensure they receive a mail ballot, as well as promote a website that will answer common questions and tell citizens where their nearest voting center is, should they wish to vote in person. A second round will play after mail ballots are sent. It will encourage voters to return mail ballots early, to allow the clerk's office time to count ballots in a timely fashion.

Williams believes getting ballots in early will save the county money because he will not have to hire extra staff on election day. — JAS

Jones Park still in standoff

Colorado Springs Utilities wants to get rid of the west side property known as Jones Park, home to a popular trail system as well as the threatened greenback cutthroat trout. The trout is causing problems for Utilities, which doesn't want the expense of studying the area and making improvements to accommodate it as required by the federal government.

The National Forest Foundation has been working with Utilities to acquire the property, and the financing to do the needed work is arranged. Once it's done, the foundation plans to transfer the land to the Forest Service.

But El Paso County says it should get the property. County commissioners believe that local control is more likely to ensure the property stays open to recreationalists. The county doesn't have all the money needed to meet those federal requirements, but the Board of County Commissioners is considering asking voters to keep about $2 million in tax money collected over the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights limits, which could then go toward the project and other parks needs.

The Utilities Board, aka City Council, was expected to decide on Aug. 20 who would get the property — federal deadlines for that work are fast approaching — but it decided nothing. Board member Keith King wanted to give the property to the county. Members Helen Collins, Joel Miller and Andy Pico wanted to find out if private parties would purchase the property. (Utilities officials have previously told the Indy that none are interested.) Members Jill Gaebler, Jan Martin, Merv Bennett and Val Snider wanted to give the property to the National Forest Foundation. Don Knight was absent.

A new vote is scheduled for Sept. 9. — JAS/PZ

Jenkins family commits land

The Jenkins family, owner of the region's biggest development company, Nor'wood Development Group, will donate land for the Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame project, Dick Celeste said last week.

During a meeting about City for Champions, a tourism venture of which the museum is part, Celeste said the land lies west of Sierra Madre Street at Vermijo Avenue. He didn't give a precise location, but said a portion of Sierra Madre might have to be closed to accommodate a bridge over the railroad tracks.

Celeste, the former governor of Ohio and former Colorado College president, is heading up the Olympic project. — PZ

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