City Council Candidates, Part 2

City Council Candidates, Part 2

Two Questions for City Council Members

UPDATE April 2017: We have removed answers given by unsuccessful candidates, and kept the statements made by candidates elected to City Council.

We asked all City Council Candidates the following 2 questions:

  1. General fund support for city parks, trails and open space is less than it was 10 years ago. Do you consider that a serious problem and if so, what would you do to correct that?
  2. Is making Colorado Springs a more “bike friendly city a worthwhile goal? Why?
    If yes, would you support projects that further that goal?

Here’s how they answered:

District 3--Richard Skorman

Questions:

  1. General fund support for city parks, trails and open space is less than it was 10 years ago. Do you consider that a serious problem and if so, what would you do to correct that?
  2. Is making Colorado Springs a more “bike friendly city a worthwhile goal? Why? If yes, would you support projects that further that goal?

Answers:

Richard Skorman:

  1. General fund support for city parks, trails and open space is not only less than it was 10 years ago but expenses have gone up significantly.  The cost of water, for example, has more than doubled since, and the Park Department is the biggest water customer for Colorado Springs Utilities. Our backlog of projects and the maintenance of our aging, park, trail and open space infrastructure are serious concerns, as is the health of urban forests and median trees.  If elected this time, I will be continue to be a strong advocate from the dais for more Park funding from the General Fund. One way to free up more funding is by getting stormwater funding out of the General Fund.  I will also advocate for lower water rates from CSU, as now Parks receive only a slight discount to CSU’s commercial rates.  I will also help lead the effort to place on the ballot and campaign for, a new dedicated source of funding not only for Park maintenance, but for forest health, trail connections and a new system of Greenways to make us one of the most off-road, bicycle friendly cities in the country.
  2. It’s absolutely a worthwhile goal.  Every city in the country that has invested in their bicycle infrastructure has seen a huge economic and health benefit returns on that investment.  It is also one of the best ways we can attract more Millennials and entrepreneurs form the North Front Range to our City. We live in a great city for bicycling with great access to the mountains, dry weather, 300 days of sunshine and many wide, flat streets that our underused by cars.  We just need to change our mindset and be strategic about where we place on-street bicycle infrastructure so that bicyclers can ride and commute safely and make sure that that infrastructure connects to where people want to go.

District 4--Yolanda Avila

Questions:

  1. General fund support for city parks, trails and open space is less than it was 10 years ago. Do you consider that a serious problem and if so, what would you do to correct that?
  2. Is making Colorado Springs a more “bike friendly city a worthwhile goal? Why?
    If yes, would you support projects that further that goal?

Answers:

Yolanda Avila:

  1. I do consider it a serious problem. Our public lands, trails, and parks are a constitutive part of our identity and contribute immensely to the health, happiness, well-being, and attractiveness of our City. Colorado Springs would not be Colorado Springs without our public lands and I think it is essential to our success as a city, the health of our citizenry, and our duty as environmental stewards that we financially support parks, trails, and open spaces. We need to reassess the willingness of citizens to support tax increases that will support our parks, as well as using the money we have already collected in excess sales tax revenue. This money can and should be used to support the services that matter in our city, and one of these essential services is parks. These funds can help our City to thrive without increasing taxpayer burden.
  2. Yes. A bike friendly city has almost too many benefits to name. Investment in bike infrastructure produces many economic benefits, promotes public health, creates a healthier environment, and attracts both Millennials and Baby Boomers. Bike friendly cities tend to be safer for everyone and encourage the development of healthy habits. Biking is an essential part of a robust multimodal transportation network, and I would absolutely support projects that make this transportation network more fluid and flexible, including better trail/bike lane connectivity, safer bike lanes, and other infrastructure recommended by experts that will make our City a better place to travel by bike, on foot, on public transit, or in cars. All of our transportation options can and must work together.

 

District 6--Andres Pico

Questions:

  1. General fund support for city parks, trails and open space is less than it was 10 years ago. Do you consider that a serious problem and if so, what would you do to correct that?
  2. Is making Colorado Springs a more “bike friendly city a worthwhile goal? Why? If yes, would you support projects that further that goal?

 

Andres Pico:

  1. This is a serious problem and I do support increased funding for parks, trails and open spaces.  The how is difficult.  The TOPS measure does provide an additional boost for the acquisition of additional property and the additional maintenance support in the TOPS for those properties is very important.  I do support additional general fund support for parks, I do not think that an additional sales tax measure is the right way to go and certainly not now as high as our local combined sales tax rate is.  The longer range way to fund parks in my view is to increase the overall economic base to better support all of the general fund needs. There are some key projects and properties out east that I would like to see included.
  2. Having a more bike friendly city is a worthwhile goal because the greater use of bikes reduces the congestion on the roads, reduces wear and tear on the roads and enhances the outdoor recreation of the city.  Tying the trails and park systems together can increase the use and value of those parks, trails and the recreation sector.  I do support projects that enhance that goal but I also am concerned that such projects do not increase traffic congestion or adversely impact the traffic grid.   This will take some innovative planning.

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