Springs City Council votes against delaying repaving project

Council considered request to use money for city IT upgrades

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - By a 7-2 vote Tuesday, the Colorado Springs City Council rejected a proposal to shift $2 million in priority projects to information technology.

The measure generated interest because it was believed the money was from the special appropriation made earlier this year by the council for pothole repairs.

However, Kara Skinner, the city's chief financial officer, said the pothole money was never part of the request from the city's information technology department.  She said the money paid for several projects, including a $900,000 repaving of part of Academy Boulevard.

Skinner said the IT department is overdue for system upgrades.

"Having a reliable, efficient network is critical to the operations of the city," Skinner told the council.

Skinner said had the council approved the request, the projects would have been delayed until next year and paid for out of next year's budget.  But several council members said they were uncomfortable delaying any priority street and road projects.

"It's just a $2 million figure," said Councilman Joel Miller.  "We don't know exactly what that's going to pay for.  And frankly, the public hasn't been given any information on why this is such a critical project that we're pulling money from other things that we've been told previously were critical."

Miller also expressed concern about a shortage of staff in the IT department, and its ability to be certain about the need for more money and the exact cost of upgrades.

Skinner said some aspects of the IT department's needs could better be explained by the executive staff under Mayor Steve Bach.

Bach and members of the IT department did not attend Tuesday's meeting.

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