Tag Archives: Loveland City Council

A Voice of Colorado No. 368 Version 5.0:

Social Media continues to be a problem for elected officials, specifically those seeking re-election. An e-mail Loveland, CO. Mayor Pro Tem John Fogle sent more than a year to his fellow council members, which was accurately described as vulgar and obscene, as well as immature and inappropriate, and which led to call from council members for him to resign his leadership post, has resurfaced.

Mr. Fogle refused to resign and, until the e-mail was brought to the attention of the public recently, had not taken responsibility for his action with a public apology. His decision to disrespect his elected position is not new. Neither is his failure to accept responsibility and the consequences of his actions.

Therefore, he must be denied election as Mayor of Loveland, CO.

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A Voice of Colorado No. 362 Version 5.0:

The candidates for seats on the Loveland, CO. City Council and the candidates for mayor of Loveland recently answered questions regarding business before an audience at the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. The focus of the session included economic development, transportation, and broadband.

Economic Development

Larry Heckel, a candidate for mayor, expressed the belief that vetting incentives should be done on a case-by-case consideration instead of a general approach because he believed doing so would allow for the opportunity to determine whether or not a business would succeed or fail based on the credentials of those advancing the proposal.

In comparison mayoral candidate Jacki Marsh said that she does not support incentives for business and that economic development should be based on whether or not those living in Loveland would benefit. She also expressed the opinion that the employees of a business should be able to live in the city where they work.

The third candidate seeking to become the next mayor of Loveland, John Fogle, advanced the opinion that Loveland competes with Fort Collins for economic development, and that fact must be at the forefront regarding economic development in Loveland.

A candidate for City Council in Ward I, Jeremy Jersvig, put forth the opinion that there should be a balance between retail and primary employers in Loveland because to do otherwise could result in an imbalance regarding affordable housing.

Leonard Larkin, who is also seeking the council seat in Ward I, expressed the opinion that education should be a primary emphasis for Loveland, and suggested a moratorium on growth in Loveland until city leaders and voters have a say in the matter.

Related to the opinions expressed Gary Lindquist, who is seeking the Ward II council seat, made it known that he opposes what he considers to be corporate welfare now practices by the city.

His opponent, Gail Snyder, said that all businesses in Loveland should be supported.

Another candidate for Ward II, Kathi Wright, said that business is important, but equally important is the type of business that would come to Loveland, and that incentives may play a role in the pursuit.

Steve Olson, who is seeking re-election in Ward II, advanced the opinion that he sees benefit to city-funded business incentives.

John Ryan Keil, who is also seeking the Ward III seat, made it known that he opposes incentives because he supports the free market. City Council member Steve Clark, who is running unopposed in Ward IV, said that he dislikes incentives but accepts that they are required because economic development is a duty of government.

Transportation

On the subject of transportation in Loveland Mr. Larkin made his opinion known: He cited a need for a better source of funding for transportation projects than loans.

Mr. Lindquist expressed the opinion that the increased traffic congestion on U.S. Highway 34 was frustrating and unacceptable.

Gail Snyder favors a balance of safety and the ability to travel a sufficient distance within a given timeframe and believes that it can be accomplished through a partnership between Loveland and other cities, county, state, and federal entities where required funding is concerned.

Kathi Wright advanced the opinion that she supports alternative transportation methods and advocates the proposed hyperloop project for the Front Range corridor.

Council member Steve Olson said that priorities regarding transportation should include safety and efficiency, and advocated priorities within the city budget for transportation and road maintenance.

John Ryan Keil advocates road projects being a priority to resolve traffic problems and issues in congested areas in Loveland.

Broadband

The candidates for elected office were asked for their opinions on the City of Loveland providing a broadband utility for residents of Loveland.

Mr. Lindquist made his concerns known regarding the cost for the system – which could exceed $100 million.

Gail Snyder echoed the opinion and expressed concern over the burden on taxpayers. But also said she saw it as being a reason for business to locate to Loveland.

Mr. Jersvig expressed the opinion that the proposal could carry high risk.

Kathi Wright suggested that the investment would be received favorably by many Loveland residents who must work during the night because of inadequate bandwidth during peak hours.

Steve Olson expressed concerns about the initial cost and the potential for failure, with the overall cost left to the taxpayers to resolve.

John Ryan Keil said the city should research how other cities handle other services, including trash collection, to better understand the investment and maintenance of broadband.

Mr. Clark and Heckel advanced the position that the issue should receive more consideration before the investment is made – if at all.

Mayoral candidate Jacki Marsh expressed the opinion that broadband is needed to attract and retain businesses that will provide high-paying jobs for current and future residents, and made it known that a local broadband service would be more appropriate that a long-distance service.

John Fogle made it known that broadband would be, in his opinion, an investment in the future. Mr. Larkin shared the opinion.

No candidate for elected office, however, offered specifics for how long it would take to recover the substantial investment or what would happen if it failed.

The subject of finances and economics provided a transition to city budget priorities.

City Budget Priorities

Each candidate for elected office was asked: Excluding public safety, public works, and power, what are your top three priorities?

Mr. Olson responded that he wants correct and transparent financial records and a reduction in debt the city carries.

Mr. Keil and Mr. Heckel also said that elimination or avoidance of debt was important.

Mr. Clark said that his priority is transportation.

Mayoral candidate Jacki Marsh said her priorities included explicit information regarding incentives for business, and asserted that development must pay its own way.

Her opponent, John Fogle offered three priorities: Transportation, infrastructure, and the means to attain housing.

Mr. Jersvig said a priority is a balanced budget, with input from voters on to achieve the related goal with a framework of needs versus wants.

Mr. Larkin said that his priority is education.

Mr. Lindquist said that a priority for him is a reduction is operating costs that translate into higher fees and taxes for taxpayers in Loveland.

Gail Snyder expressed a similar priority: Fiscal responsibility.

Kathi Wright offered her three priorities: Housing, economic development of the downtown area in Loveland, and better communication between city government and the public.

The question and answer session ended with a question regarding leadership: What qualities do you have that would serve Loveland as a leader?

John Fogle, who is running for mayor, offered his city experience, six years on council, and two years as mayor pro tem.

Mr. Heckel said he works with the community.

Jacki Marsh said her experience as a business owner would be applicable.

A Voice of Colorado No. 352 Version 5.0:

The Loveland, CO. City Council recently passed its 2018 budget. Included in the budget is an increase for residents of Loveland, who will pay approximately $3.09 per month more for about 700 kilowatt-hours to help fund an increase in health insurance for city employees.

Once more the (Un)Affordable Health Care Act affects matters economical and financial, contrary to lies perpetuate by politicians and members of the news media alike.

A Voice of Colorado No. 320 Version 5.0:

The Loveland City Council is proposing its 2018 budget, the current draft of which calls for $328,729,000, and includes a staffing increase of 20 full-time employees. Of the positions proposed two would be new members of the Loveland Police Department, seven in the Water and Power Department, three in the Public Works Department, a Deputy City Attorney, a Parking Attendant for The Foundry, and a Videographer for the City Manager’s Office.

The two law enforcement positions merit consideration as the city’s population grows, but there is valid reason to question the need for seven in the Water and Power Department, three in the Public Works Department, a Deputy City Attorney, a Parking Attendant, and a Videographer for the City Manager’s Office.

A Voice of Colorado No. 318 Version 5.0:

Despite an overwhelming rejection of tax increases in recent years the majority of the Loveland, CO. City Council recently decided to authorize the spending of up to $85,000 on consultants, who will allegedly help the council and staff in their efforts to convince voters and taxpayers a tax increase supposedly for the funding of capital projects is appropriate.

Voting in favor of the expenditure: Richard Ball, who represents Ward I, Joan Shaffer, who represents Ward 2, Leah Johnson, who represents Ward 2, John Fogle, who represents Ward 3, and the Mayor of Loveland, Cecil Gutierrez. Those voting against the expenditure included Dave Clark, who represents Ward 4, Steve Olson, who represents Ward 3, Troy Krenning, who represents Ward I, and Don Overcash, who represents Ward 4.

The experts who will be paid up to $85,000 are Paul Hanley of George K. Baum and Co., and Diane Jones. Funds for this expense will come from the city’s general fund.

If the experts and the council determine that voters and taxpayers are willing to increase the sales tax in Loveland for this purpose the question would be placed on the August 2018 ballot. All tax increases of this nature, according to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), require voter approval.

The proposed increase would be 0.5 percent, bringing the sales tax rate to 3.5 percent. The average Colorado Home Rule city has a 3.57 percent general sales tax rate.

If voters approved the increase the money generated would allegedly be spent on specific capital projects supposedly for the benefit of the city.

Over a ten year period the increase would theoretically generate $8.2 million.

Council members who opposed spending the money on consultants as well as the tax increase have argued that reallocating available funds instead of raising taxes is a more pragmatic approach.

Council members who support spending up to $85,000 assert that the process of determining whether or not voters and taxpayers would support the sales tax increase would be done in three steps: A needs assessment that allegedly includes defining priorities for capital projects and preparing a message for voters and taxpayers; a public information program involving open houses, meetings of a citizen task force, a letter to registered voter households, and other outreach efforts; and a community comment period involving a mail survey and telephone poll. Each step would also involve a review with the City Council and conclude with a formal presentation on community feedback.

If the Loveland City Council wanted actual opinion on the matter they would ask voters and taxpayers directly instead of spending almost $100,000 without due reason.

A Voice of Colorado No. 310 Version 5.0:

Lenard Larkin, a candidate for the Loveland City Council, for Ward I, has made it known that he is running for elected office because he believes the council should have a different perspective, one that he describes as contrarian. Larkin seeks the council seat being vacated by Troy Krenning, and is competing again Jeremy Jersvig.

As part of his platform Larkin wants the council to support small businesses that bring quality jobs to the community. He also believes that the council should support the Thompson School District and finance high-speed internet for residents.

A life-long resident of Loveland Larkin works as a cable installer. He previously ran for elected office as a Democrat in 1996, when he challenged Republican incumbent Bill Kaufman in the Colorado House of Representatives, District 51, but now considers himself to be neither liberal nor conservative.

A Voice of Colorado No. 302 Version 5.0:

The City of Loveland, CO. Finance Manager, Budget Director, Brent Worthington, told the Loveland City Council in a public forum recently that his department, which he has overseen for five years, is responsible for a multimillion-dollar budget mistake that existed for at least twenty years prior to his tenure.

His mea culpa is appreciated, but there remain at least two questions involving the matter: How did this happen and how will it be addressed? If the financial books of the city had been properly audited on a quarterly basis as is the practice for private sector businesses the mistake would have been caught long ago and quickly resolved. The fact it was allowed to exist for more than two decades, resulting in millions of dollars should require a full and complete review of all finances for the City of Loveland, to ensure that other such discrepancies do not exist. Additionally, given the size of this error there may be due cause for a criminal investigation and legal action taken against those who caused and perpetuated it.

At the center of the issue is a fund that was believed to have a balance of at least $21 million dollars for 2017. The actual balance has less than two and a half million dollars.

The reason for how this error occurred was given as TABOR, which politicians, with few exceptions, have blamed for almost everything: The excess revenue fund, which holds tax revenues in excess of limits set by the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights constitution amendment. In past years Loveland voters gave the city permission to keep and spend the extra money instead of refunding it. The majority of the alleged balance focused on Internal Service Fund revenue, which included the Fleet Replacement Fund and the Employment Benefit Fund, which city employees interpreted as TABOR-eligible, when the truth was the opposite. The assumption dates to 1993, the year TABOR was passed.

According to Mr. Worthington the problem has been solved, and the matter is not as serious as it might first appear because Loveland voters, when they allowed the city to keep the monies, also required that the money be spent only on public safety, parks, and streets. Neither of these facts makes sense, and Mr. Worthington has not been required to explain them with relevant specific facts. Either the money for public safety, parks, and streets exists or it does not exist. If the account in question has less than two and a half million dollars in and the assumed balance was roughly ten times that amount, it is necessary to ask how can the matter be resolved when spending likely took place based on assumption and accounting error.

Loveland City Council member John Fogle reportedly inquired how long the practice of spending money not actually available has been taking place and the year 1993 was provided. Despite this the Mayor of Loveland, Cecil Gutierrez allegedly attempted to diminish the severity of the problem by claiming that the inconsistencies did not appear until a few years ago, and further attempted to justify the inexcusable bookkeeping by trying to blame the taxpayers and voters of Loveland with the claim they demanded the non-existent money be spent.

The specifics of the matter remain unresolved because the facts of the matter have not been clarified to the satisfaction of voter and taxpayer alike. Again, despite the concern the Finance Department presented the council with a draft of the city budget for 2018, which calls for spending almost $330 million dollars. Until the finances of the City of Loveland, CO. are made explicit and all monies are accounted for the city should set aside the missing funds to ensure the future. It is unlikely to occur because few governmental bodies manage their financial books as the private citizen must do.