Bach urges council to reverse decision on ballot measure

January 23, 2013
photo - Mayor Steve Bach Photo by The Gazette file
Mayor Steve Bach Photo by The Gazette file 

Mayor Steve Bach said Wednesday he hopes the City Council will reverse its decision to refer to the April ballot a proposed charter change to increase council compensation.

The council voted 5-4 Tuesday to refer the measure to the ballot. The proposal, which calls for increasing council pay from $6,250 a year to $48,000, effective in 2015, still requires a second reading at Feb. 12.

“I cannot support” the ballot proposal, Bach said during his monthly news conference.

“It’s simply because I think that’s a piecemeal approach to, frankly, reinventing our City Council. I do think we should have a serious discussion about council compensation. They do work very hard. I think they should be compensated fairly, and I’m not sure that’s the case right now. But I think that needs to be tied to council’s long-term role and responsibilities,” he said.

Bach reiterated his pledge to work with council on an expedited charter review “and hopefully come to a consensus on those matters which we should ask the voters to consider.”

During the news conference, the mayor also announced how the city will disperse about $50,863 raised during the inaugural Mayor’s Cup golf tournament last year. The mayor emphasized that no tax dollars were spent to put on the event.

Here’s a breakdown:

• The Colorado Springs Conservatory will receive $10,000.

“The conservatory is a positive environment that supports community development and mentorship and combats negative influences in society. This donation will help them become a permanent part of the downtown Colorado Springs,” Bach said.

• Leadership Pikes Peak, which Bach called the “premier community leadership organization in the Pikes Peak region,” will receive $5,000. The money will be spent on the organization’s Leading Edge program, which works to develop teen leaders.

“There might be a future mayor in that group, I hope,” Bach said.

• Colorado Springs Together, a nonprofit formed after the Waldo Canyon fire, will get $5,000 to help produce a “documentation piece of all things related to the fire,” he said.

• Bach said $24,000 will be set aside for four, two-year, tuition-only scholarships to Pikes Peak Community College. The application process will be publicized in the future, and the scholarships will be awarded at the end of this school year, he said.

“This will enable four students to have a full ride on tuition for two years to obtain their associate degree,” he said. “We’re hoping that they will choose to take courses in public safety so that they can then become qualified to apply in our police and fire departments …or hopefully they’ll take some public policy classes and perhaps one day one of those will become a chief of staff.”

The money will be distributed at an event at the conservatory, 415 Sahwatch St., at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Cindy Aubrey, the mayor’s chief communications officer, said the remainder of the money — about $6,900 — will cover expenses at the next Mayor’s Cup, which will be May 23 at The Broadmoor.

Contact Daniel Chacón: 476-1623

Twitter @danieljchacon

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