Colorado Springs mayor Steve Bach pondering second-term bid

February 14, 2014 Updated: February 14, 2014 at 7:42 am
photo - Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach photographed in his office at the City Administration Building Thursday, December 20, 2012. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach photographed in his office at the City Administration Building Thursday, December 20, 2012. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

Mayor Steve Bach said Thursday that he is considering a run for a second term in office.

"I'm leaning toward running again," he said. "There is so much work to complete that I've started."

Bach was elected in a runoff election in May 2011 to a four-year-term and became the city's first strong mayor under the new form of council-mayor government, which voters approved in 2010.

Bach, 71, had previously suggested that he was not interested in a second term. But now, with one year left in his term, Bach said he wants to continue working on three major issues: jobs, the health of the Colorado Springs Airport and the City for Champions project.

Bach, who was a commercial real estate broker, campaigned on the pledge to improve the business climate by cutting red tape at City Hall. He has repeatedly said that government does not create jobs but can help make it easier for businesses to relocate or expand. He said there still is work to be done.

Last year, Bach created an Airport Air Service Task Force after he became concerned that passenger traffic at the airport was forecast to fall to a 22-year low. The task force has made a series of recommendations related to airport renovation and refinancing debt. But the airport has only begun its research about travel needs and its marketing plan.

In December, the Colorado Economic Development Commission awarded the city an estimated $120.5 million in state sales tax revenue over 30 years to help finance the proposed City for Champions projects, which include a downtown events center, an Olympic museum, an Air Force Academy visitors center and a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs sports medicine facility.

Bach is co-chairing an advisory board that will oversee the four projects. Under the Regional Tourism Act, the state program that allows cities to use a percentage of newly generated state sales taxes to pay the principal and interest of bonds, the city has five years to plan and begin construction of the projects.

"I do want to see City for Champions through," Bach said. He added that the four proposed projects must be fully financially vetted before moving forward. He wants the city and El Paso County to contract a third-party expert to vet the financial data of the projects, he said.

Still, Bach is not ready to fully commit to a run at a second four-year term. The past three years have been tumultuous as the legislative and executive branches define their roles in the new form of government.

"We'll see," he said.

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