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Crestview Water & Sanitation Short on Funds, Approve Bonuses


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Twas the year of taking and giving…   taking from those that are struggling to get by in order to give to those who need it more.  While most Adams County residents are tightening their belts just to get by, our local government officials are being awarded bonuses for being over budget. 

Crestview Water and Sanitation Board of Directors, recognizing that their employees have worked “especially hard this year”, voted to approve an incentive award of 10 percent in December 2010. 

This, after determining earlier that same meeting that present revenues are not adequate to provide for the financial needs of the District, and an increase in revenue can only be accomplished by increasing rates for water.

Is anyone seeing a pattern in Adams County yet?  New Cars for Commissioners? Expensive furniture contracts awarded without bid?  Paving contracts awarded without bids; work paid for that was not completed?

 
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Smart Growth & TOD’s : Not meeting Expectations

Smart Growth / TOD / High Density developments do not appear to be having the impact predicted.  In many instances, these developments appear to have harmed property owners and failed to achieve the glorious predictions made about their economic viability and long-term sustainability.  The high vacancy rates in southeast Arvada’s urban renewal district, as well as the City of Portland’s struggles with high TOD commercial vacancy rates, are fine examples.    Randall O’Toole, a CATO transit fellow, has a great book that lays out the larger battles over zoning and PUDs when TOD remains a key aspiration for policymakers.

 
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Your Tax Dollars at work with RTD

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RTD talking points detail how to organize against property owners

April 23, 2009

By Face The State

Face the State Staff Report 

A 2008 presentation by a top Regional Transportation District official is spurring questions about the transit authority’s use of taxpayer dollars to teach other agencies how to effectively prevail against property owners in future disputes.

At the annual “Railvolution” Conference, held Oct. 26-30 in San Francisco, Bill Sirois, RTD’s Director of Transit Oriented Development, presented a lecture titled “Eminent Domain-Tool or Trouble for TOD.”

Through his presentation and accompanying slides, Sirois provided RTD’s perspective of what happened after it engaged in its latest expansion plans for its FasTracks light rail system. According to his presentation, “a few upset property owners” challenged RTD, “anti-eminent domain coalitions joined forces,” “voluminous open records requests” were submitted and “legislation was introduced to limit RTD’s eminent domain authority.” No property owners were present at the conference to offer an opposing perspective.

Sirois defended his viewpoint. “The purpose of the presentation was to indicate to people who are thinking about TOD around transit stations not to look at using eminent domain, necessarily, as a tool to acquire property, because there are all these issues out there,” he said. “We relayed what we went through with the West Corridor.”

Sirois’ language in his slides minimizes the public response to the West Corridor of FasTracks, the proposed line from Union Station in Denver through Lakewood and into Golden.

But, as was previously documented by Face the State, nearly 100 property owners turned out at to a community meeting earlier this year to express reservations about FasTracks, many of them furious about a lack of communication concerning the eminent domain process and the prospect of TOD.

“There was a fairly good sized group of people that were adamantly opposed to eminent domain and spoke out very actively last year about that,” conceded FasTracks public information officer Pauletta Tonilas. “Only a few of those were property owners that RTD was working with on the West Corridor project.”

Last March, RTD planned to notify up to 200 property owners that all or part of their land would be needed for FasTracks expansion along the West Corridor. Upon being notified, some property owners simply chose to settle immediately with RTD, while others waited and saw their property value drop due to speculation that the land would be condemned by RTD in the future

read the full story here…

 
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RTD: How Does Your Paycheck Compare?

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For RTD execs, the road is paved in gold

June 25, 2010

By John Schroyer, Face The State

The executives at the Regional Transportation District must love the song “Easy Rider.” After all, they cruise happily from paycheck to paycheck, with the top 20 employees at RTD earning a cumulative $2.9 million. They could each probably buy their own buses, to shuttle their entire extended families to Cherry Creek Reservoir and home.

At the top of the list is RTD’s General Manager, Phillip Washington, who pulls down $275,000 a year. That’s twice what many of the other six-digit earners make, and $100,000 more than the next highest-paid employee, Assistant General Manager Richard Clarke. He gets a mere $174,739 a year.

Here’s the breakdown of the top 20 salaried employees at RTD:

Phillip Washington, General Manager $275,000
Richard Clarke, Assistant General Manager, Capital Programs $174,739
Marla Lien, General Counsel $173,463
Bruce Abel, Assistant General Manager, Bus Operations $170,000
Delbreath Durelle Walker, Deputy Assistant GM, Capital Programs $160,000
Scott Reed, Assistant General Manager, Communications $159,369
John Shonsey, Chief Engineer $155,400
Terry Howerter, Chief Financial Officer $153,038
David Genova, Assistant General Manager, Safety, Security and Facilities $144,760
Carla Perez, Assistant General Manager, Administration $140,000
Calvin Shankster, Assistant General Manager, Rail Operations $140,000
William Van Meter, Assistant General Manager, Planning $140,000
Michael Gil, Deptuy Asisstant General Manager, $132,500

Get the full story here

 
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RTD's Questionable Spending in the Past, And Now?

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RTD charges dinner cruise, beachfront hotel to taxpayers

February 19, 2009

By Face The State

Face the State Staff Report

According to records obtained by Face the State, the RTD board of directors spent more than $54,000 on travel in 2008, including a trip to China, nights in a beachfront hotel and a dinner cruise. Records also indicate that members avoided RTD buses and light rail, opting instead to charge taxpayers for taxi rides and airport parking. Some of the spending may be in conflict with the board’s own policies.

Amidst the recent economic downturn, RTD officials have recently implemented a salary freeze for most RTD employees, excepting General Manager Cal Marsella from the change in compensation. RTD is governed by a 15-member board of directors elected by citizens of the eight counties within the transit authority’s jurisdiction. Each board member receives a $12,000 annual salary established by the state legislature. In 2008, each board member was also allocated $10,000 for local and out of state travel.

Juanita Chacon, who represents Commerce City, Westminster, and Edgewater, used $1,627.20 of her travel allowance for a “China trip”, the details of which are not provided with her expense report (PDF). Documents provided by RTD reveal little about the trip, but Chacon did charge the district for airfare, lodging and meals. Chacon did not return calls for comment.

Noel Busck, a board member representing parts of Commerce City, Brighton, Thornton and Northglenn, attended the annual American Public Transit Association conference in San Diego last October and stayed at the beachfront Marriot Marina hotel for $328.73 a night (PDF). Barbara Brohl, who represents Denver, Edgewater and Wheat Ridge, attended the same conference and stayed at a less expensive hotel, but enjoyed a $68.50 (PDF) “dinner cruise.”

Read the entire story here

 
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