City Council is contemplating amending our City Charter because of their power struggle with the Mayor over what authority and responsibilities the Mayor and City Council should have in the Strong Mayor form of government. Our City Charter is, and should remain, a document of fundamental guiding principles for Colorado Springs and should not be amended for routine budget matters that could be better handled by ordinance. The proposed Council Amendment will only serve to clutter up the City Charter and make it more difficult to be understood by the average voter.
While it is clear that several budget-related issues have resulted in contentious dialogue between Council and the Mayor, Colorado Springs Forward believes that the best way to resolve these issues is by working together collaboratively, with a goal of mutual understanding and/or compromise. If Council and the Mayor cannot reach an agreement on these budget-related issues, we believe it would be best to wait until April, when there will be a new Council and possibly a new Mayor that might be more able to work together to solve these issues without employing a City Charter amendment.
Colorado Springs Forward has sought out expert advice regarding this matter from a former Colorado Springs City Attorney, a Colorado College business and political science professor, and an attorney who deals with city charters from another community in Colorado. They all have had similar responses — “This proposed Charter Amendment from City Council has no place in the Colorado Springs City Charter.”
We acknowledge that there are some areas in the City Charter that need to be revised to better reflect the Strong Mayor form of government. However, those changes need to be well thought out and agreed upon by both the Mayor and City Council so that the changes (or possibly a new revision of the Charter) can be done once and be a purposeful product of a collaborative effort with both branches of our City Government supporting it.
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