Mayor Steve Bach
Mayor Steve Bach covered a lot of ground yesterday in his speech at the first-ever Latino Community Luncheon.
Bach talked about the challenges facing city government, including a backlog of up to $1.1 billion in stormwater and other infrastructure.
But he was also optimistic, saying that if the community pulled together, Colorado Springs could be a model city.
“I’m all about solutions,” he said.
Bach also shared an interesting story about a phone call he received just two weeks into the job from one of his “strongest supporters” on the campaign.
“This supporter said, ‘Steve, I just have to tell you there’s a lot of concern out here among some of your supporters about your early decisions,’” Bach recalled.
“I had been in office two weeks. I said, ‘Well, tell everybody to take a deep breath. It’s probably going to get worse.’ Not on purpose,” Bach said.
Other highlights of the mayor’s speech:
Bach said rumors are circulating that he’s going to “slash” city salaries by 50 percent. They’re not true, he said.
Bach said city staff have found a “few million” dollars in efficiencies for 2012. He said it was a good start but that “hard discussions” were looming.
“Basically, we either need to increase our revenue by at least $10 million a year or cut our expenses by that much to be solvent here in a few years,” he said. “Any ideas would be welcome.”
Bach said Colorado Springs must have a city leadership that is fiscally responsible.
“We must build up our reserve for that rainy day. The next recession will come. Many economists think in 2014,” he said.
When asked about recent decisions by the City Council, including the massive USOC mural/billboard, Bach initially sidestepped the question.
“I was hoping they would put my name on it,” he joked.
“As for the mural and so forth, you know, from this point forward, we need to get on with the fundamental priorities,” he said later.
Diversity in the workforce was a hot topic.
“I want to see action steps, not quotas, but how are we going to drive toward the ultimate result that our city government is going to reflect our community,” he said.
Bach met recently with former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, who is now vice president of the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado.
“We just talked about how I can get to know more people from that part of the community and get their thoughts and concerns and learn what are the barriers that are thrown up,” he said.