Wednesday, July 9, 2014

UPDATE: Crash Joel Miller's town hall meeting, C4C backers say

Posted By on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Here's the letter to Springs Utilities from Xcel Energy proposing a purchase of the city's power generation system:

——————-ORIGINAL POST WED., JULY 9, 2014 11:51 A.M.———————————————————————————

City for Champions
 supporters are planning something of a take-over of the town hall meeting planned for tonight by City Councilor Joel Miller, a staunch and vocal opponent of the $250-million tourism venture advocated by Mayor Steve Bach and some community leaders.

Miller, who represents the northern District 2, will host the meeting at the New 21c Library, 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Topics to be discussed include governance of Springs Utilities, the soon-to-be-built Fire Station 22, a proposed change in the Wolf Creek master plan and City for Champions.

Commonly called C4C, the proposal calls for building a downtown stadium, sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, downtown Olympic museum and new visitors center at the Air Force Academy.

The state Economic Development Commission has agreed to supply $120.5 million in state sales tax money that results from the projects, leaving a sizable share to be funded with donations and local tax money.

In an email blast yesterday, the "City for Champions team" wrote:

Hello City for Champions supporters!

We appreciate your continued interest in and support of City for Champions!

And we need your help. Tomorrow, City Council Member Joel Miller will host a Town Hall Meeting, and C4C will be one of the topics.

Mr. Miller remains opposed to City for Champions, and we believe it would help to have pro-C4C people in the meeting, to provide another viewpoint.

If you can attend, voicing your opinion could help the future of our city. Please feel free to visit our website to get the latest C4C information and to print out Fact Sheets about the projects and venues to help you prepare. We also encourage you to join our Facebook page if you haven't already!

Asked for his thoughts on this effort to swamp his town hall meeting with C4C cheerleaders and, in essence, take over the meeting, Miller says in an interview, "I’m not going to let that happen."

"I have this dilemma," he continues. "I want people to go, but I don’t want it to get hijacked. I’m ready to address anything they say."

As for the so-called "Fact Sheets" noted in the C4C announcement, Miller says they're "riddled with lies," including statements that private investors who buy the bonds to be sold by the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority to fund the projects take the risk, not the tax payers.

"That’s ignoring the fact that you have to make payments," Miller says. "It’s incredible, the mistruths connected with this thing."

But Miller also sees tonight's meeting as an opportunity. "There are a lot of them who don’t understand how this thing works. They’re like birds in a nest with their mouths wide open," he says. "I’m going to take it as an opportunity to educate them."


In a semi-related matter, Xcel Energy apparently has made an unsolicited offer, or wants to, to acquire Springs Utilities' electric division and wants City Council members, who serve as the Utilities Board, to sign non-disclosure agreements promising to keep their mouths shut about whatever offer is made behind closed doors.

The meeting is to take place next Wednesday, July 16, but Miller opposes such a thing. He notes the Council voted in April 2013 to kill a study of selling Utilities power division and nothing has changed since that time.

Mayor Bach has been trying to get control of Utilities since he was elected in 2011 and attended a secret meeting the following year during which a sale was discussed. The goal is to scrap the downtown Drake Power Plant to make way for City for Champions and surrounding development, which would greatly benefit Nor'wood Development Group, owned by David Jenkins and family, which owns a substantial amount of land in that vicinity. The Jenkins family also gave $1 million to the Mayor Project in 2010, which proposed changing to a mayor-council form of government from city manager-council. Voters gave it the green light, paving the way for Bach's regime.

Miller says the city is well positioned, by owning the electric utility, to attract new manufacturing businesses, which are enjoying something of a resurgence in this country. He also notes that Xcel is guaranteed a profit of 8 percent to 13 percent under a Public Utilities Commission order. Springs Utilities, in contract, does not return a profit to its owners — the ratepayers.

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