Sep 8, 2010 7:32 PM by Zach Thaxton
Colorado Springs City Councilman Sean Paige says he wants a fresh audit of the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation. The EDC received roughly $70,000 of taxpayer money from the City of Colorado Springs and $192,000 of rate-payer money from Colorado Springs Utilities in 2009. Paige says he wants to know how the money was used.
"It's an important way to signal to the taxpayers that we're watching out for their dollars," Paige says. "I think that's really important at a time when distrust in City Hall is pretty high."
City Councilmember Jan Martin, who serves as City Council's representative on the EDC board, says the EDC already received an independent audit each year and paying for another at an estimated cost of $14,000 would be wasteful. "EDC is very open with their records," Martin says, "and as a board member, I see the annual audit that is done and presented to the board directly from the local auditor. There really is nothing to hide."
Paige says it's not a matter of whether the EDC is hiding anything. "I have no reason to believe EDC is misusing the dollars, but the fact is they've received over $2 million since 2002 without any independent oversight," he said. "It's nothing personal against the EDC. It's just a matter of principle that when you receive public funds, you also receive public scrutiny."
Mike Kazmierski, President and CEO of the EDC, told News First 5 by telephone that the EDC will comply with any audit request from the city.
"Last year alone, EDC brought in 13 new companies to Colorado Springs and over 2,000 jobs that wouldn't otherwise have been brought here," Martin said. Paige says he wants proof. "To me, it's just a question of good governance and better oversight, so I'm really shocked, given our financial situation in the city, that there's resistance to basically keeping better track of public funds."