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Reader: Don't be fooled by the BLR agreement 

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To Colorado Springs City Council: Imagine my surprise when I read the Gazette article "[Banning Lewis] Deal could get Springs $49M." If the article wasn't so tragic, it would be funny (see Banning Lewis Ranch approvals to finish by late February). Let me remind you that the residents of Colorado Springs are now saddled with fees for 20 years to pay for stormwater infrastructure that was not built or maintained because of city mismanagement and waivers to developers. The stormwater ballot initiative as reported in the Independent was heavily funded by the developers and builders. What a surprise!

Now, not even a month later, the city staff and a consultant say that by changing the annexation agreement to lessen the financial burden on the Banning Lewis developers, the city could possibly see a $49 million benefit. While only Mr. Skorman may have heard the previous promises of largess for the city coffers as a former member of Council, no one should be fooled. If all the imagined benefits to the city had been realized from all the "good deals" developers received, the city would have had sufficient revenue for stormwater, streets and even code inspectors.

One can reasonably expect the developers to always try to maximize profit, but the credibility of and trust in the city staff and leadership is diminished when it advocates shifting costs from the developers to the public. It's time to disapprove all developer waivers/variances or agreement changes with financial implications until we have finished paying off our stormwater obligations in 20 years.

— Mary J. Talbott, Colorado Springs

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