Even though the problems at the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority have been widely reported, The Gazette asked the Bach administration yesterday to explain why it was inspecting the authority’s financial records.
Cindy Aubrey, who is Mayor Steve Bach’s chief communications officer, provided the following statement:
“The Urban Renewal Authority Board asked the City for a line of credit last fall – they wanted a loan from the general fund to cover expenses. The City initially understood that the Urban Renewal Authority was seeking an excessive amount of money for the Ivywild development project. The Mayor intervened. Urban Renewal Authority recently announced that they defaulted on money they borrowed for the North Nevada redevelopment project. The Mayor thinks it is appropriate to take a look at the Urban Renewal Authority. The Mayor “shall have charge and supervision over all accounts and records of the City, and all boards or groups required to keep or make accounts.and may inspect or cause to be inspected all records or accounts required to be kept in any of the offices or departments of the City, and cause proper accounts and records to be kept and proper reports to be made.”
The statement apparently reached a wide audience.
Today, City Council President Scott Hente issued a rebuttal of sorts.
Here’s what Hente wrote:
Please allow me to comment on a couple of things:
1) The CSURA has always been totally transparent with its bookkeeping, financial reports, and audits. All of those items have always been discussed in open session, with the media sometimes present, and are referred to in the agendas and minutes, which can be found at its web site http://www.csurbanrenewal.org. The CSURA welcomes the opportunity for any agency to take a look at its financial records and will work constructively and cooperatively with the Mayor’s office and provide any information they may request. As an aside, the CSURA’s annual audit, to be conducted by the locally respected accounting firm of BiggsKofford, is due to begin later this month. As has always been the case, that audit report will be a matter of public record.
2) There never was a proposal to seek “an excessive amount of money for the Ivywild development project”. There was an initial pro forma, which was basically a mathematical exercise, to ascertain the feasibility of whether tax increment financing would be a viable option. The numbers used in that pro forma were for analysis purposes only and were never vetted, discussed, or approved by the CSURA Board. The Ivywild Urban Renewal Area will prove to be an outstanding urban renewal project and will be an economic driver for that part of town.
As always, please do no hesitate to contact me with any additional questions you may have.