City Councilwoman Lisa Czelatdko, who represents downtown, is giving Mayor Steve Bach’s Downtown Solutions Team a piece of her mind.
Czelatdko sent the group the following email:
I wanted to thank those of you who give up your time, your money, your mornings, your weekends in order to improve upon downtown Colorado Springs.
I think that the intentional exclusion of the legislative body of this City, the absence in representation of a young professional, and poor output of communication, is extremely shortsighted on the part of the downtown solutions team.
I hear directly from citizens and business owners what they like and dislike about downtown. They want action and they want leaders who are willing to cooperate, recognize the existing value in this community, support projects that will enhance, and have the courage to implement changes. If you do not see that willingness then I ask you to use your influential voices and get them out of the city, out of leadership, and off boards.
The recent recommendation from the transit solutions team is to remove FREX. Where is our regional thinking? *Please see video below of Hickenlooper commenting on COS and how successful communities recognize the positive impacts a comprehensive transportation system has on a City. Their recommendation removes the only connection other than interstate between COS and Denver. It will put more drivers on the road putting an additional strain on an already compromised infrastructure. Professionals may have to move out. No options were discussed with the State for funding, nor County, or even discussed with the PPRTA board which actually provides the funding. Council heard at the presentation that with the extra funding “we can possibly improve local routes”. There is no guarantee to improve fixed routes locally because transit is not a priority for this administration. Last year, I was the Council member who advocated for additional money for streets and to increase the weekday transit so people could get home from their job shifts. It failed. Council was told publicly that for 2012, administration would look at additional sales tax revenues coming in and funding for improved transportation could be discussed. Those additional funds have supposably been spent already. Council could and should in my opinion, bring forward an appropriation for increased fixed routes. Unfortunately, it has been confirmed legally and reminded often, that appropriated funds can not direct City administration to implement any additional services. You are all very intelligent, dedicated people. Please tell me one thriving downtown or City, where transportation isn’t a key part of their success?
It is May 5, 2012. There has not been one discussion of 2013 budget or project priorities between City Council, Steve B, and this administration. Millions of dollars in appropriations are coming forward last minute under the guise of being “mission critical”, and are foolishly being approved by us on Council without any detailed conversation, involvement, or bigger picture plans. My questions for you are what is this mission for this City? for public safety? For infrastructure care? For downtown?
COS is the second largest City in the state and the largest County by population and area. With the willingness of our citizens and leaders to serve, there should be no reason to keep community solution building to a select few.
Listen especially from 10:00-11:15 minutes. Most of talk is cycling related but the idea of comprehensive transit options, branding, economic development, and commitment to projects all are mentioned and applicable to our City.
Lisa Czelatdko (sa-lot-ko)
District 3 City Councilmember
City of Colorado Springs