Mayor Bach to maintain General Fund support of Parks maintenance
Thursday, March 07, 2013
In a letter today to the Trails and Open Space Coalition, Mayor Bach expresses his commitment to not “reduce general fund support for City parks in a manner that is intended to replace or substitute those general fund monies with any new TOPS monies.”
Below is the complete letter from Mayor Bach:
March 7, 2013
Ms. Susan Davies
Trails and Open Space Coalition
1040 S. 8th Street, Suite 101
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
Re: TOPS Ballot Measure
“As you know, at the April 2, 2013 municipal election, a ballot question will ask Colorado Springs’ voters to allow a 20% portion of the TOPS sales and use tax collected after January 1, 2013 to be used for maintaining and renovating all City parks, in addition to the presently authorized uses to acquire, construct and maintain new parks.
That measure does not contain a “maintenance of effort” clause (MOE) that would require the City to expend from the general fund at least the same amount of funds for maintenance and renovation of parks as it did in 2012 or prior years.
City Council and I agreed a MOE was not in the best interests of our community for two reasons: (1) a MOE was likely not legally enforceable as an improper restriction on the legislative power of future City Councils; and (2) it would create an unfortunate and unwise precedent to infer that certain portions of the City budget could never be reviewed.
However, that said, I write to reaffirm my strong support and firm commitment to our City park system. As Mayor, I annually prepare and submit the budget to City Council for its consideration and approval. Should this measure pass, it is my intention with future budgets that I submit to Council to not seek to reduce general fund support for City parks in a manner that is intended to replace or substitute those general fund monies with any new TOPS monies.
There of course could be events in the future that require a reduction in general fund monies for the City parks, for example an “emergency” like a natural disaster, such as a flood or wild land interface fire, or severe economic constraints currently unforeseen. However, I have no intent and no desire to see any reduction in the City parks budget as a result of possible new TOPS monies in order to redirect monies to other City needs.
We all, as a community, are proud of our City parks, and consider them a treasured asset for current and future generations. I hope this letter clarifies my support and appreciation of our park system and for your efforts. I look forward to working with TOSC in the future to preserve and protect our parks legacy in Colorado Springs.
Very truly yours,