Rushing metro districts OK shut out the public |

Rushing metro districts OK shut out the public

Out of the blue, the Glenwood Springs City Council approved three new special districts last Thursday to handle financing for road and utilities infrastructure at Glenwood Meadows.

The three Meadows metropolitan districts will be able to borrow up to $24 million, although current infrastructure estimates peg the costs at $19 million.

Establishing metro districts may be the best way to handle this financing.

But Thursday’s discussion was the first chance the public had to learn about and discuss the concept. Council members got their first exposure a few days earlier in their council packets.

In spite of objections raised by an attorney representing two local businesses, council voted 5-2 to approve the districts that same night.

To top it off, City Council discussed and approved the districts well after 10 p.m., taking on a complex and controversial subject at an hour of the evening when thinking power is well past its peak.

The metro districts’ debt will be paid off by shoppers who patronize the Target and Lowe’s stories planned for Glenwood Meadows, and by homeowners and renters who will live in the development’s residential areas.

All this may be fair and proper, but the slam-dunk approach to the metro districts proposal seems unnecessarily rushed. It runs counter to the notion of widespread public understanding of what will be the single largest development in the city’s history.

Glenwood Springs city officials have already stirred public opposition by unilaterally moving forward on golf course financing.

Community residents have sent the signal that they want City Council to hear them and get them involved in decisions. Opening the metro districts discussion to the public would have been a perfect opportunity to answer that call.

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