Mayor agrees to new $21K for Rock Ledge

       The Westside went 1 for 2 on mayoral line-item decisions Dec. 14 for the 2012 city budget.

Mayor Steve Bach

       Mayor Steve Bach agreed to allow an extra $21,000 stipend for the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, but vetoed a $10,000 allocation for the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS).
       Those had been among 10 changes in all that City Councilmembers had proposed to the budget given to them by Bach last October.
       Council was to meet Thursday, Dec. 15 to decide whether to override the mayor's veto on OCCHS, as well as on six other line items. A six-vote “supermajority” of the nine-member body would be needed.
       Addressing a press conference, Bach said he had supported the Rock Ledge funding (along with two other volunteer/nonprofit endeavors) because he values what they do and he believes the money gives them “a bridge to the future.” In Rock Ledge's case, the money will go to its volunteer Living History Association (LHA), which first must raise $50,000 in donations to be eligible for the extra funding.
       However, Bach, expressing grave concerns about city revenue and spending projections over the coming several years, announced that similar funding will not be available after 2012. “We are asking them [volunteer groups] to raise the money elsewhere,” he said. “I don't expect the city to have discretionary funds.”
       The mayor cushioned his OCCHS veto by describing the all-volunteer nonprofit as a “great organization” and terming its center in Old Colorado City “a pretty neat place.” However, he said, OCCHS activities “don't rise to the level of essential services” (such as police and fire, which are being cut this year). Also, he noted, the OCCHS members “did not ask for money.”
       Council had agreed to the $10,000 on the urging of City Councilmember Lisa Czelatdko, whose District 3 includes Old Colorado City. She has said that she proposed the allocation because she believes the OCCHS' preservation work benefits the city as a whole.
       Bach suggested that if so desired, somebody in the community could take on the chore of fundraising for the OCCHS, and offered to support such an effort.

Westside Pioneer article