Downtown gets more police, city backlog will require $1.3 billion, and more 


More cops downtown

The Colorado Springs Police Department is piloting a new approach to downtown law enforcement, using tactics inspired by a program called Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS). Four police officers will patrol the downtown corridor day and night, with others in the division encouraged to spend 15 to 30 minutes per shift offering a visible presence in the area.

"Drawing on the deterrent value of highly visible traffic enforcement and the knowledge that crimes often involve motor vehicles, the goal of DDACTS is to reduce crime, crashes and traffic violations," the department says in a press release. — BC

Backlog tops $1.3 billion

Roads, bridges, buildings, storm drains and city vehicles have fallen into such disrepair that $1.33 billion is needed over the next 10 years to fix or replace them, according to a report given to City Council on Monday by Laura Neumann, Mayor Steve Bach's chief of staff.

The 10-year project list includes $65.2 million per year for capital improvements (roads, bridges, transit and buildings), $41 million per year for stormwater, and $27.2 million per year for otherwise unfunded maintenance and vehicles.

That's an annual total of $133.4 million, but Neumann says the goal is to spend $35 million over a five-year period. And even that will be difficult considering the city's budget limitations, she says. She says new revenues predicted for 2014 range from $6 million to $10 million, but there's another $31 million in budget requests, which include such things as raises for non-uniform employees and increases in water costs for irrigating parks.

The list of needs was compiled by a mayor's committee made up of city staff and business leaders. — PZ

Re-fi for city building

Mayor Steve Bach wants to refinance the City Administration Building at a lower interest rate and apply a one-time project fund to "much-needed improvements to the building" at 30 S. Nevada Ave., according to a memo to City Council from his staff.

In 2002, the city borrowed $9.4 million to buy the CAB from Colorado Springs Utilities under a 25-year agreement with an interest rate of 5 percent. That was changed in 2007 when the city entered a lease-purchase agreement with Citicapital Municipal Finance. That agreement was for 20 years at 4.24 percent. As of this month, $6.65 million is still owed.

Bach wants to borrow $7.4 million from U.S. Bank for 14 years at 2.49 percent, freeing up a one-time amount of $750,000, a move that will require Council approval.]

Since Bach took office in June 2011, several improvements have been made to the CAB, including sprucing up the lobby with new carpet and redesigning the mayor's suite. — PZ

Johnson takes AFA reins

The Air Force Academy got a new boss Monday, when the first female superintendent in its history assumed command.

Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, a 1981 Academy graduate, the first female cadet wing commander and the school's first female Rhodes Scholar, comes here from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, where she served as deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence.

She succeeds Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, a former Academy football player and preparatory school grad, who served as superintendent for four years.

Johnson is a command pilot with more than 3,600 hours in a variety of aircraft. She takes over leadership of a school that's seen several cheating and drug scandals in recent years, and recently lost through resignation its first diversity officer. — PZ

'Over the River' still stalled

Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR) is still fighting Christo and Jeanne-Claude's art installation between Salida and Cañon City, and wants to make sure no one forgets it. Earlier this week, the nonprofit gave an update on its legal battles against the "Over the River" project, urging people not to be confused about stories that "suggest" it is home free, Westword reports.

The project is far from that, due in part to ROAR amending its suit against OTR Corp. and the Bureau of Land Management back in July; that suit could still be heard in federal court. This is entirely different from the administrative appeal (backed by a separate group of individuals), in which the Interior Board of Land Appeals agreed with the BLM's record of decision allowing the project.

ROAR says on its website that the confusion is coming from OTR Corp. and BLM's formal replies to the amended suit; though they basically call for the suit to be dismissed, ROAR notes that's only "boilerplate language" and "expected." The group adds: "These procedural replies are not motions to dismiss ROAR's lawsuit."

Which means that "Over the River" will continue sitting where it's been for over a year now — embroiled in legal battles, without a prospective installation date. — EA

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