Wednesday, June 22, 2016

About that Waldo Canyon Fire recovery group...

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 9:11 AM

click to enlarge Then-Mayor Steve Bach speaks at a news briefing on June 27, 2012, the day after 347 homes were destroyed in the Waldo Canyon Fire. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Then-Mayor Steve Bach speaks at a news briefing on June 27, 2012, the day after 347 homes were destroyed in the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Remember when then-Mayor Steve Bach was caught off guard by the destruction of 347 homes by the Waldo Canyon Fire in June 2012?

We have a story updating the investigation of the fire's cause here.

Remember how, because the city was caught flat-footed without a plan, Bach quickly drafted retired businessman Bob Cutter to create Colorado Springs Together? The organization was supposed to help people who lost their homes understand the process of getting back on their feet.

The main thing CST did was rent a former Blockbuster Video store in the Mountain Shadows area where meetings with insurance consultants, fire inspectors and other professionals were held for residents to attend and learn how to have their foundations pulled, obtain new building permits, learn about changes in building codes triggered by the fire, fill out paperwork for insurance adjusters and the like.

Back then, it was like pulling teeth to get a dollar figure of how much money was being raised and how it was being spent.

Now we know, based on filings with the IRS.

click to enlarge Colorado Springs Together's recovery center as it looked on Aug. 20, 2012, nearly two months after the fire swept into the city. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Colorado Springs Together's recovery center as it looked on Aug. 20, 2012, nearly two months after the fire swept into the city.

Turns out, the biggest chunk of the $509,195 raised from 2012 through 2014 went to build a park project in Mountain Shadows ($123,000) and erect a memorial ($44,500) to commemorate the fire.

Amounts raised by year were $207,307 in 2012; $173,736 in 2013, and $128,152 in 2014. 

Other amounts spent during the three-year period:

$130,181 for information technology.
$105,465 for rent.
$57,463 for an anniversary night party in 2013.
$38,902 for wages to a part-time worker.
$9,179 for insurance. (There's no explanation on the IRS form for what insurance was purchased. It could have been for the board of directors liability coverage.)

Cutter never drew any pay, although he said in the report he worked an average of 49 hours per week in that six months after the fire. He worked an average of 26 hours a week in 2013, and 5 hours a week in 2014.

No 2015 report has yet been filed.

To see what's become of some of the key figures in the fire, go here.


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