Aug 30, 2009 7:59 AM by Bill Folsom
Colorado Springs City Council held a special session where a vote was made to put the Police Operations Center and a fire station up for collateral, to get the millions of dollars needed to keep the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs.
The special session was necessary because financial experts advised them interest rates are favorable for issuing Certificates of Participation (C.O.P.'s) and they need to act quickly to lock in rates.
City Council members consider this and investment rather than an expense. They believe paying back the C.O.P.'s will cost the city about 1.8 million dollars a year for 30 years. An independent economist reports that the U.S.O.C. generates at least 3.4 million a year for the city. The reasoning is that by keeping the U.S.O.C. here the city comes out ahead on it's investment by 1.6 million dollars.
There are some who question the collateral the city is using to back those bonds. They've put up the Police Operations Center which is the headquarters for police and a fire station. Darryl Glenn, the only City Council member to vote against the measure says, "I think it's bad public policy to be able to use that way to circumvent having to go to the electorate to get approval of this particular agreement." Glenn wants the U.S.O.C to stay but thinks there should be a vote by the public to approve this type of funding.
Other council members believe this is basic investing. Councilman Jerry Heimlicher says, "The bond holders want something essential and that's in their belief that if it's essential the city will be more diligent in paying back whatever it is and not just handing them a building."