Feb 12, 2014 11:03 PM by Maddie Garrett
Some members on the Colorado Springs City Council are sounding off about a confidentially agreement they're being asked to sign before they can look at certain financial documents tied to the City for Champions project. But city leaders explain that the non-disclosure agreement is necessary and designed to protect certain proprietary information.
The non-disclosure agreement doesn't cover all information surrounding City for Champions, in fact, the 800 page application is public information. But certain information that deals with investors and long term cash flow, revenues and sustainability, can only be accessed through signing a confidentiality agreement.
"I haven't signed one, I haven't decided whether I'm going to do that or not," said Council member Jill Gaebler.
Gaebler said she needs to take a closer look at the agreement, but said she "probably will because I do want to see the information."
Both other council members are more vehemently against the non-disclosure agreement.
"I didn't sign it and I won't sign it," said City Council President Keith King.
King isn't alone, two-thirds of city council members said they won't sign it. Only Val Snider and Merv Bennett have yet to reply to KOAA about their opinion on the non-disclosure agreement.
"I'm rather wanting to see an open process on that particular issue," said King of the financial information.
Some council members even feel the city has something to hide when it comes to the sustainability of City for Champions, so KOAA asked Economic Development Director Bob Cope that very question.
"No one's trying to hide any information, again this is a private proprietary business operation," said Cope.
Cope said the real reason behind the non-disclosure agreement is at the request of the investors. He explained that investors and businesses don't want their proprietory information out in the public about how much money they might spend on a project, and how much money it's expected to make.
"The reason for the confidentiality and the non-disclosure is because we would not have ever obtained the information had we not agreed to those conditions," said Cope.
That financial information contained in the non-disclosure, called pro formas, is what helped the city secure $120 million in state dollars over 30 years to help fund City for Champions.
But King said the Council should have open access to those numbers as well, with no confidentiality agreements.
"I don't want to have an opportunity to read something and see that it's something that's a concern to me and not be able to talk about it," said King.
There are several public meetings on City of Champions coming up in the next few weeks, being hosted both by city council members and project leaders. The city said it wants to get people's input and opinions on City for Champions, and find out more about what questions they have and what they like and don't like.
The first in a series of meetings will be held on Tuesday, February 18th, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, at the Regional Development Center at 2880 International Circle.
Mayor Steve Bach, Councilman King, El Paso County Commissioners Amy Lathen and Dennis Hisey and representatives from each of the
four City for Champions projects will be present to discuss the projects, finance plans, timelines and milestones necessary to meet the requirements to receive Regional Tourism Act funding from the state.
King will also hold a joint community town hall meeting on Monday, February 24th, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, at the Westside Community Center at 1628 West Bijou Street.