Fire chief nominated
In August, Colorado Springs City Council will be asked to confirm Mayor Steve Bach's appointment of current Pueblo Fire Chief Christopher Riley.
The city said in a news release that Riley's starting pay will be $145,000, slightly less than the $147,657 paid to Rich Brown at the time of his retirement as chief in April. Brown remains on the payroll through the end of this year as a consultant.
Bach chose Riley after a nationwide search that drew 40 applicants; nine were interviewed. In the release, the mayor noted Riley's 32 years of service, including "extensive wildland experience." Though the résumé included in the news release didn't list any other departments for which he's worked, Riley reportedly has spent time fighting fires in California and holds bachelor's and master's degrees from California State University. — PZ
Homeless center scrapped
Mayor Steve Bach has bagged the idea of Sunrise Village, a one-stop campus to help the homeless, city economic vitality specialist Aimee Cox says via email.
"We will continue our approach to identify priorities and build the capacity of our community to house, treat and employ o[u]r most vulnerable populations," she writes. "Any activity we take on will be in cooperation with our Continuum of Care, service providers, businesses and the public."
That would be good news to people like Bob Holmes with Homeward Pikes Peak, who says that as Bach's wife, Suzi, researched what to do to serve the homeless, "it was pretty much made apparent that input from homeless service providers was neither requested nor required during the period of this research."
Holmes says he thinks the mayor had counted on the providers to offer services at a campus, but those organizations are struggling to keep up with the services they're already offering. "It didn't seem too feasible for us to be setting up in an additional place with no funding."
Cox says a partnership effort with providers should be formed by fall. — PZ
SDS reversal irks Pace
After Mayor Steve Bach and Council President Keith King sent a June 6 letter to Pueblo County misstating the facts about Colorado Springs Utilities' permit to build the Southern Delivery System ("Storm brewing," News, July 17), they corrected the record with a new letter sent July 19.
In the June 6 version, the city said a Stormwater Enterprise projects list was submitted "as part of" the 1041 construction permit process for the water pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir. There was no such project list or dollar figure submitted by the city as part of the 1041 permit itself, records show, meaning the city made no concrete pledges to spend a certain amount of money on stormwater or to do certain projects.
Rather, the permit, issued in April 2009, simply requires the city to ensure that Fountain Creek peak flows that result from new development served by the water pipeline are no greater than prior peak flows.
Although City Attorney Chris Melcher said in a statement to the Indy on July 15 that the June 6 letter "was accurate," Bach and King wrote a new letter on July 19 "to clarify any potential misunderstanding of our letter of June 6, 2013."
This letter also said that while there were "conversations" about stormwater projects, "it is clear that the 1041 Permit itself does not require or adopt any specific list of capital projects that must be implemented ... [n]or does the 1041 Permit require a specific dollar amount to be allocated."
The July 19 letter prompted Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace to tell the Pueblo Chieftain he was "furious" and "confused." — PZ
New maps for Waldo scar
The release of the final portion of the Flash Flood Risk Analysis means those at risk of flooding from the Waldo Canyon burn scar now know exactly where they stand.
New maps available for city residents at springsgov.com and for county residents at elpasoco.com show the outcome of different kinds of storms. The maps also consider the impact of debris coming from the burn scar, which is expected to cause blockages at street crossings. Scenarios are based on the amount of water that falls in a given hour, up to 2 inches. — JAS
Peak Arts Fund almost there
As of press time, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region was about $2,500 short of the $50,000 goal for its benefit drive, the two-year-old Peak Arts Fund. Donations are accepted at peakartsfund.org until 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, July 31.
Intake will be split among 18 local arts nonprofits — each will receive $2,000, with leftovers allotted based on the size of each organization's operating budget. — EA
Relief comes for lawns
Starting Thursday, Aug. 1, Colorado Springs Utilities customers can use more water with lesser penalties. The summer usage threshold has been raised to 2,500 cubic feet from the 2,000 of previous watering restrictions, per City Council last week. And those who do exceed the 2,500-cubic-foot threshold will be charged 1.25 times the rate in the next-higher block of rates, rather than two times as much, as previously charged.
The change does nothing to alter the twice-per-week schedule, with Council playing it safe amid a drought. The city's reservoirs are at only 57 percent of capacity, with 1.8 years of supply in storage as of mid-July. — PZ
Open space approved
Colorado Springs will expand its open-space holdings with the purchase from Hewlett Packard of about 200 acres adjacent to Ute Valley Park in the northwest area of the city.
The city will buy the property on south Rockrimmon Boulevard, behind the Colorado Springs Marriott, for $7 million in two phases, the first next month and the second in January 2015. The land will be held by the Trust for Public Land in the meantime.
Besides money from the city's Trails, Open Space and Parks tax, the city will use a $600,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (secured by the Trust for Public Land) and $150,000 from the trust and Friends of Ute Valley Park. Another $50,000 raised by the trust and friends groups will be donated for ongoing stewardship and maintenance.
The vote was 7-1, with Councilor Helen Collins voting no, and President Pro Tem Merv Bennett absent. — PZ