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Winter Highlights #8: City Council adds new members, a new commission and takes on affordable housing need

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — All six City Council District seats were up for grabs in the April 2017 election. Three incumbents kept their seats while three new faces joined City Council. Together all nine members of Council have worked thousands of hours in 2017 to pass hundreds of ordinances and resolutions, create a new Commission on Aging, answer the need for affordable housing, and work in collaboration with Mayor John Suthers to finalize a 2018 City Budget that will address some of the City’s biggest needs.

  • NEW (AND FAMILIAR) FACES ON COUNCIL

On April 18th three councilmembers were sworn in for a second term; Don Knight (District 1), Jill Gaebler (District 5), and Andy Pico (District 6). Three new members were also sworn in; David Geislinger (District 2), Richard Skorman (District 3), and Yolanda Avila (District 4). Geislinger has a background in law as an attorney in Southern Colorado, and is an ordained Catholic Deacon. Skorman is a local business owner and is back on City Council after serving two terms from 1999-2007. Avila is making history of her own, she is the first visually impaired councilmember to be elected in Colorado Springs. A bonus member on City Council is Avila’s guide dog Puma. The Golden Retriever attends every Council meeting. (Video of the swearing-in ceremony: https://vimeo.com/213907915)

  • ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS

Regular Council Meetings take place on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month, this year hundreds of ordinances and resolutions have been passed:

  • ORDINANCES: 114 passed by City Council and signed by Mayor Suthers
  • RESOLUTIONS: 163 passed by City Council

 

  • ANSWERING THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEED

City Council has worked with the City’s Planning Department and Planning Commission, decide land-use issues in the City. Adding more affordable housing is something all nine councilmembers agree is a priority, and Council is looking at all opportunities to promote the building of more affordable units through land-use and code changes, incentives and public-private partnerships.  The City’s Community Development Division is tracking affordable multi-family unit construction in Colorado Springs, and expects more than 800 new or renovated units will be ready to go by the end of 2018. It is estimated that Colorado Springs needs 30,000 more units over the next decade.  

  • COMMISSION ON AGING

There are over 50 Boards, Commissions and Committees serving under City Council. The newest member of that group is the Commission on Aging which was created through an ordinance passed in April and began meeting in September. The Commission on Aging saw a record amount of applicants with 56 people applying to fill 11 seats. Goals for the Commission on Aging is charged with making recommendations to PlanCOS and maintaining an age-friendly city designed for residents of all ages to enjoy.  

  • BUDGET

The City Council and Mayor Suthers all applauded efforts on the 2018 City Budget process that was finalized at the Council’s last meeting of the year on December 12th. The 2018 Budget’s first vote was passed unanimously on November 28th, then in unprecedented fashion the Budget was put on the Consent Calendar for the final meeting of the year, where it was approved.