City Attorney: OK for city to overlay OCC lots from parking $
With a favorable legal opinion in hand, Colorado Springs Parking Director Greg Warnke plans to include a $100,000 line item for the Old Colorado City Security &
Maintenance District in his five-year plan that will go before City Council at its formal meeting Tuesday, May 23.
The money, part of the $1.4 million in annual revenues that are expected from parking rate increases to take effect this year, would be used primarily for overlays in the district's three free, city-owned parking lots. The project is penciled in for the year 2007.
The legal question was whether money from parking fees could be used to pay for that work. In the district's 26 years, such has never occurred, because of wording in its creating ordinance to the effect that it is supposed to maintain the improvements that the city had put in (including the lots). However, when Warnke met with the City Attorney's Office last week, he said he was told that city overlays in Old Colorado City lots - now and in the future - are “in the spirit of the ordinance,” based on a clause stating that the district's work is “in excess of the normal security and maintenance provided to public improvements by the City of Colorado Springs.”
“This sets a precedent,” Warnke told the Westside Pioneer. “It's something you (the district) can look forward to.”
Judy Kasten, committee chair, said she was pleased to hear the outcome. The committee met with Warnke May 3 after he had submitted a preliminary spending plan to City Council that showed all the rate-increase money going to downtown Colorado Springs. With committee members saying they just wanted a “fair share” of the funds - especially considering that money from Old Colorado City's 137 parking meters brings the city nearly $70,000 a year - Warnke told members May 3 he would talk to the city attorney about the committee's overlay-funding suggestion.
“This is good news,” commented Ric Geiman, the district liaison with Colorado Springs Parks, which works with the district's Advisory Committee in planning improvements in the three-block area. Based on informal estimates, the overlay would probably cost something less than $100,000, leaving money for some district landscaping and brick paver repairs as well, he said.
Assuming City Council approval, the biggest parking-rate increase will be in the downtown core area, where per-hour meter rates are to go from 50 cents to a dollar, and long-term rates will also rise. The rates in other areas, including Old Colorado City, are to increase from 50 to 75 cents an hour.
Westside Pioneer article