From Our Mailbox - 2009


November 2009

A letter from the editor...

The editorial page of a newspaper is not about news. It is about personal views and the freedom to share them responsibly.

Letters printed in The Castle Pines Connection do not reflect in any way the personal views and/or opinions of The Castle Pines Connection, LLC, its newspaper editor/publisher, or its staff.

The process for selecting which editorials to print in the paper has been quite simple: Every
editorial submitted has been published.

The editorial guidelines limit submissions to 300 words; however longer letters have been published, depending upon space availability. Lengthy editorials are printed in their entirety on our website.

As participation in our editorial page increases and the number of letters we receive grows, stricter adherence to these policies will be observed. Until then, we’ll continue to include what space allows.

Editorials submitted should be true, accurate, fair, balanced, and relevant to our readers. Letters may be posted in the Editorial section of our website (www.castlepinesconnection.com), or printed in the monthly newspaper.

Content of editorials should display evidence of being guided by ethical values of care, compassion, community and civility.

No anonymous letters will be printed in The Castle Pines Connection. All editorial submissions must include your name, address, neighborhood, phone number, and e-mail contact. Only names and neighborhoods will be published.

Not comfortable submitting your views in writing but still want to share your thoughts? Call me at 303-918-3676. I am happy to talk with you.

- Terri Wiebold, Editor/Owner
The Castle Pines Connection, LLC


November, 2009

Dear Editor:

Perhaps you can generate an explanation to the public (i.e. Taxpayers) regarding what has become of the added property tax approved by vote a few years ago.

We taxpayers were advised that the money raised by the additional levy would be utilized to build a fire station near the North end of what is now CPN. Recent fire dept. information has stated that such a station at the proposed location is no longer necessary, and would not be built. Since that is now true, what has become of the funds raised for that station?

I recognize that the Fire Department is a separate entity, and does not require public approval for most of their actions, but the “public” approved the tax increase, I think that we are still paying the levy, but have never been advised regarding these funds. Maybe you can find out?

Jim Greathead, CPN Resident

To the community of Castle Pines North,

I understand that some residents in Castle Pines North feel like they were promised a fire station if the mill levy increase passed. While I understand that, the recent study we had done does not support a new station because there are not enough calls in the area to warrant two stations. The original concern that suggested an additional station was response time to the northern part of CPN. The Fire Authority did look at moving Station 36 so that it could provide better response times to a greater area, but that idea was not well received by residents there.

The mill levy is being spent to continue providing the current service. That includes replacing out of date apparatus and repairing decaying fire stations as well as providing personnel to staff the stations.

While Castle Pines North does have one fire station in its city, that one fire station is not CPN’s only source of fire protection. It also receives protection from the other 16 fire stations in the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority’s area and mutual aid from neighboring jurisdictions. One fire engine would not be enough to put out a large fire. The Authority relies heavily on its accumulative resources to provide fire protection and emergency medical services. It does this to provide the best service without bankrupting its citizens.

For example, it costs roughly $2.5 million to operate Station 36 in Castle Pines North. With the increase in mill levy, Castle Pines North residents have been paying approximately $1.5 million in taxes which is not enough to cover the cost to operate one fire station let alone two. Most residents could not afford fire protection service without the commercial properties contribution to the cost.

Commercial properties pay a large proportion of the fire protection and emergency medical services provided by SMFRA. Commercial property’s assessed value is factored at 29 percent of the actual value compared to residential property at 7.96 percent of market value. Further, the Class 3 insurance rating on SMFRA’s fire protection service provides the homeowner with fire insurance savings that offsets or exceeds the money paid for fire protection.

We welcome public input anytime and citizens are encouraged to attend our monthly board meetings, the 2nd Monday at 7 p.m. at 9195 E. Mineral Ave. in Centennial. Information can also be found on our Web site at www.southmetro.org.

If you have further questions do not hesitate to contact me or our Community Relations department at 720-989-2207.

Sincerely,

Dan Qualman
Fire Chief, South Metro Fire Rescue Authority


November, 2009

Dear Editor:

A cursory look at the 2010 Castle Pines North Master Association budget shows all cost and no benefit. One has to wonder why they collect any dues at all if all they’re going to do with the money after they collect it is count it.

The budget shows that between the management fees, legal fees, accountants, and bank charges, the cost of doing nothing is roughly 75 percent of the net budget. Where are the services?

At one time, this once venerated association provided a variety of valuable community services to its members. As association members, we enjoyed a robust HOA sponsored newspaper and a detailed and up-to-date website.

Our community had representation to local governments. We enjoyed some well-attended social events that gave us a chance to meet our neighbors and become a stronger community. No more.

The past few Master Association boards devalued these community strengths and the 2010 budget shows that trend continuing. So, what’s the point?

Do we really need to pay $136,000 in dues to throw a $3,600 party? I don’t think so. Either get it together or get it gone. This board needs to either reinvent itself or send back the money.

Tim Gamble,
CPN Resident, HOA1


October 20, 2009
 
On October 1, Treasurer Gilbert posted a rebuttal to an editorial previously posted by Jeff Huff. Unfortunately Mr. Gilbert’s response takes a convenient view on history.
 
Mr. Gilbert states that “The feasibility of the city was based on no property tax increases to those in the CPN Metro District” but we all know that the feasibility study claimed no new property taxes period.  Remember the “No New Property Tax” slogans?  Mr. Gilbert has qualified his statement due to concerns from Hidden Pointe residents who were outraged to learn that they would they actually face a property tax increase under the city’s plan because they are not part of the CPN Metro District.
 
Mr. Huff has served as our HOA president for some time, and I have found him to be an honest, conservative and fiscally responsible steward of both our interests and our HOA fees.  Mr. Gilbert on the other hand, has acted with subterfuge and disinformation, in an effort to get what he wants. I have no reason to believe that Mr. Gilbert is not acting in, what he believes to be, the best interests of our community but I can never agree with tactics that withhold and misrepresent information in order to attain a desired result.   The ends do not justify the means.
 
Currently, the city government, led by a CH2MHill manager, is considering replacing fee-based services with tax-based services.  This is being sold as a way to save money but they neglect to tell us, that while it may save money for some it will also  will lead to significantly increased costs for others because taxes are based on the value of your house not how much of the service that you actually use.  When you buy a beer at the Barking Goat, you are not charged based on the value of your house but on the amount that you consume.  If Mr. Gilbert and his liberal cohorts have their way, city services would be charged based on the value of your home regardless of whether you even use that service.  It would be like paying for other people to drink beer at the Barking Goat.
 
How services should be paid for and shared amongst the community is certainly a valid debate, but trying to sell something without fully disclosing the impacts does nobody any good.  We have plenty of that type of behavior at other levels of government.
 
My warning to residents would be to be careful of the motives of who you are voting for.  If the advocates for forming the city were happy to throw Hidden Pointe residents under the bus, what is to stop them from doing the same to others when the situation suits them?
 
Dave Pearson
CPN Resident

October 20, 2009

Editor,

The Castle Pines Connection is and has been a good means of communication, however any information on the status (or lack of status) of the Audit of the 2008 financials has been missing. The City web site has been very silent.

The 2008 Audit according to State statues was due in July.  This was extended to the end of September.  The buzz is that this date has not been met.  The new date?  Do we have to wait until the election  process is complete?

Please cover this topic in your next news release.

Thanks.

Walt von Riesemann,
CPN Resident

Dear Mr. von Riesmann,

Thank you for your interest in The Castle Pines Connection and for your inquiry regarding the audit status of the City of Castle Pines North.

Having looked into this, I have learned that you are correct.  According to Deputy City Treasurer Scott Stewart, "the audit extension up to September 30th has lapsed.   Another extension has not been filed because State statute does not allow for another extension."

Steward continued to state that the mayor is working on a statement for this to go out in the next couple of days.  The statement will basically say that the audit field work is complete and the auditors have informed us that their work should be complete by the end of October.

When asked if there would be any repercussions to the City for failure to file a timely audit, Stewart stated that there would be no fine.  "The State just sends a notice to Douglas County to withhold any property tax payments due to the City until the audit is filed, stated Stewart.  "Since the city will not be getting any property tax payments until the middle of November, and the audit report should be filed by then, we do not anticipate any financial issues on this.  The pending property taxes that are coming in November amount to about $45,000."
 
As far as why the extension was filed and why it was not met, Stewart stated that he wanted to leave those answers to the official response from the mayor.  I forwarded my questions on to the mayor and received this response:  

"I regret that there has been misinformation and more confusing information on this matter disseminated, and hope we can answer all your questions in the article we are in the midst of preparing.  This will be sent to you, as well as residents and posted on our website for everyone's clarification," stated Shul in an e-mail response.

If you have any further questions, please  Thank you for your continued interest.

Terri Wiebold, Editor
The Castle Pines Connection


October 9, 2009

My husband and I both really like the Connection paper. We like having something to have in front of us, on paper to look at multiple times. In this edition there is information I was looking for, in particular the info on cpr classes. My daughter needs to get recertified and most of the ones we have found have been full or too far away. The updates on the HOA's is good to see as well.  Thanks for the job you do!

Patty Mason, CPN Resident

October 2, 2009

Thank you for all your work on the paper. I never read it til I have my calendar open and lots of time to devour all the content. We have never lived anywhere where the communication is better.

Nancee Conant


October 1, 2009

The editorial by Mr. Huff of Hidden Pointe in your last issue contained numerous troubling errors. Such errors not only damage the community but also put our property values unnecessarily at risk. A synopsis of accurate statements is below.

The City of Castle Pines North is on a solid financial footing. Monthly revenues exceed expenses and the City is on track to repay all start-up expenses by late 2009 and enter 2010 with a surplus, a tribute to a fiscally conservative approach to city finances.

The City has honored promises not to raise property taxes. The feasibility of a city was based on no property tax increases to those in the CPN Metro District. Because of the burdensome tax rates of the District, increasing property taxes was not sensible and has not occurred.

The City has delivered transparent financial reporting. Detailed financial statements are posted to the City’s website (www.cpngov.com) monthly.

City government and staff have accomplished an extraordinary amount of work to move the City forward quickly. In addition to putting a new city on its feet, successes include a complex rezoning process (LaGae North) and annexation of the Canyons, on track to conclude in 2009.

There is still considerable work to be done to deliver fully on the promise of incorporation:
Reduce burdensome property taxes and governmental fees by governmental services integration.
Reduce the cost of home ownership through voluntary shared HOA services.
Drive efforts for a vibrant and growing local economy.
What that can mean is that by 2011, it will cost less for governmental services in CPN than today and we will have more shopping, amenities, and a better quality of life.

Please feel free to contact me at doug.gilbert @ cpngov.com or at 720-641-0155.

Doug Gilbert, Treasurer
City of Castle Pines North


October 1, 2009

In the Aug/Sept issue of The Castle Pines Connection, an editorial, written by a Hidden Pointe homeowner, was printed. This is a fact based response to this residents comments.

Demotion of the CPN City Treasurer? There is not and never has been a demotion of the City Treasurer because this is an elected position and a demotion is not possible. City Council recognized that the state statutes relative to the Treasurer’s roles and responsibilities date from the 1920’s and do not reflect modern financial management. This led to the role confusion between the Treasurer and the City staff. At the request of the City Treasurer, Doug Gilbert, an ordinance was prepared and enacted appointing a Deputy City Treasurer.

City owes 1.5 million to various entities? The city does have $792,000 start up expenses projected to be fully repaid within 2009. A total of $630,382.34 is owed to CH2M Hill (includes deferred start up expenses) due to periods of time where revenue streams were not fully on track which is understandably a common problem for newly incorporated cities. Cash flow is allowing repayment of about $160,000 per month with projected repayment in full by December, 2009. A total of $76,411.38 is currently owed to the start up City Attorneys and is payable as cash flow permits and can be extended into 2010 as needed.

The City requested jurisdiction over the local water provider “CPN Metro District”? The City did request jurisdiction over the Metro District as part of the voter requested and authorized responsibility to manage the city efficiently. The city is financially stable! The city is not requesting the Metro to integrate because the city needs money. The city’s goal is and always has been to lower the current tax burden and decrease fees/charges for the residents and businesses.

A group of citizens have turned in a formal request to the County Commissioners to review the Metro District’s service plan in an effort to enhance transparency and drive down taxes. Another citizen group, (CPN Residents for Tax Relief), has formed to encourage the positive flow of information from the Metro District to the City and serve as an avenue to communicate to the residents the facts about the Metro Districts taxes, fees and charges and how integration into the City will reduce taxes and fees.

The city was able to reduce monthly expenses by 50% in a short period of time due to the Public Private Partnership with CH2M Hill.

Please contact the City Treasurer if you would like information on the current agreement with the Hidden Pointe Metro District and CPN Metro District to understand the difference in funding by the residents. The Treasurer can also explain the potential tax and fee impacts of equalizing payments with CPN Metro District and Hidden Pointe Metro District residents: doug.gilbert @ cpngov.com.

Thank you for your attention to this response. I urge all residents to ask questions and seek the truth when reading and visiting about the stability of our fine city. A great deal of positive change is being driven by the City and volunteer residents who really care about the future of our residents quality of life, home investment and future water needs.

Respectfully submitted,
Kim Hoffman, Ward 2 - City Council
kim.hoffman @ cpngov.com

(Hoffman has served as a Delegate on CPN II, Board Member of the Master Association, Board Member on the Parks Authority and City Council)


September 16, 2009

To the City of Castle Pines North,

As a resident and voter of Ward 3, I strongly object to the proposed annexation of The Canyons into CPN.

I was born and raised in Southern California and I moved here for a reason.
I appreciate the upscale suburban character of CPN as it is.

I don't want to live in the middle of a big town and I certainly do not want to raise my children in the type of densely populated area that is being considered.

I also feel that it is unfair that the residents in CPN have not been given an opportunity to vote in this matter.

This proposal affects more than just the Mayor and Council Members.

As elected officials you should consider more than just the revenue that can be earned.

You will be completely altering the lifestyle of all residents in the area.

I vote NO on the annexation of The Canyons into CPN.

Amelia Graser
Noble Ridge Resident, CPN


September 1, 2009

Assuming you could produce 12 issues a year vs. 6 issues at year and keep cost the same, I would LOVE to receive The Castle Pines Connection monthly.

I believe your publication is a valuable news source for our community.

Cynthia Cerny

Cynthia,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to our e-mail inquiry about The Castle PInes Connection going to a monthly publication. We are very excited to be able to offer a timely news source to the residents in the Castle Pines community. In regard to your request to keep the cost the same, we are happy to be able to continue to mail this publication to you AT NO CHARGE as a resident.

Our publication is completely funded by advertisers who see value in reaching you as consumers. Please continue to support not only advertisers in The Castle Pines Connection, but all local businesses.

Your interest and support of The Castle Pines Connection is greatly appreciated by all on our team! Thank you for your feedback.

Terri Wiebold, Owner


September 1, 2009

I was hoping the connection could look into the new charter school road that egresses onto Lagae Ranch Rd.
 
The road is suppose to support 800 students plus faculity.  It sits immediately below a hill.  Drivers going up to CP Village can not see the road until they reach the top of the hill.
 
There currently is no traffic signal or signage or other warning notication.  The speed limit is still 40 MPH.
 
This situation is an accident waiting to happen!
 
It would be great if you could write on what the city or county plans to do.  The school is opening shortly.
 
 
Thanks, Dave Mayer


Mr. Mayer,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding traffic in regard to American Academy.  It is my understanding that the city of Castle Pines North has been working with the schools and the community on this issue, and so I have forwarded your inquiry to the city's public works director, Eric Guth.

I am unaware of any specifics at this time, but hopefully you and Eric can keep me in the loop if there is information or updates that need to be communicated to the community on this issue.

Thanks for taking the time to write in and for your continued interest and participation in The Castle Pines Connection.

Terri

August 24, 2009

My family attended the Library used book sale this year and really enjoyed it. It was so nice to know that the books donated after the garage sales stayed in the community to benefit our friends and neighbors. My kids and I hope that this will become an annual event that we can look forward to for years to come.

Kristi Feret
Castle Pines North Resident


August 16, 2009

We appreciate the efforts you put forth to provide valuable information to our community about its events and happenings - including featuring the contributions our children are making as well. Keep up the good work!

- Deborah Elmore
Winterberry subdivision resident


August 12, 2009

Thank you for publishing the story on the new bike laws.  As a avid cyclist, I'm glad that Colorado passed laws to increase bicyclist safety and increase awareness of driver responsibilities.  Biking is great exercise, inexpensive transportation, and, of course, very eco-friendly.  I'm happy to see all the bikes in CPN and Highlands Ranch and hope more residents take up this healthful alternative to driving everywhere.

Jim Mason
Castle Pines North

August 12, 2009

Thank you so very much for the wonderful publicity in the Castle Pines Connection. We are so happy to know that your publication reaches so many homes in our area. The success of our events will be directly measured by the number of people who are aware of and participate in our activities.

Chao, Vicky Kellen, Book Sale Coordinator


August 11, 2009

To the Editor,
 
Although not quite as exciting as other stories I think it's unique that 3 times in the past two weeks I've almost been in a collision in the new round-about at the end of Castle Pines Parkway.  It seems that most drivers coming on Daniels Gate parkway avoid or don't see / care about the yeild sign and automatically assume they have the right of way; in this round-about there are three entrances and three exits all with the proper Yeild signage.
 
I would recommend that CPN and Douglas County install a Speed Bump (or two) for the East bound Daniels Gate traffic, forcing them slow them down.  
 
As to date I assume there have been no accidents but based on the recent experiences something not good is going to happen.
 
Thanks,
 
Mark Purfurst


Mr. Purfurst,

Thank you for your interest in The Castle Pines Connection and for your comments regarding the roundabout at Daniels Gate Parkway.  I have forwarded your suggestions to the City's Public Works Director, Eric Guth and the City's safety Task Force Chariperson, Carol Langley-Finnegan, as well as a representative from the County.

Your comments will also be posted in the editorial section of The Castle Pines Connection website.  If you receive responses from any of the above mentioned entities, please pass them along and we will follow your progress.

Thanks again for taking the time to submit your comments.

Terri


Hi Mark, thank you for your comments and concern regarding the roundabout at CPP & Buffalo Trail.  I share your concern for the posted speed limit, and in fact I have already made the decision to post a much slower speed limit "15 mph", which was installed yesterday.  I want to see how this new posted speed works before moving forward with other more drastic mitigation.  Also, its been my experience after installing a new roundabout, that there is generally a learning curve for motorists who are not used to them or not quite sure how to navigate them.  I think by reducing the speeds through the roundabout will help with this learning process.

I will continue to monitor this roundabout, and if it appears the speed reduction is not working or we continue to have safety concerns, then we will look at further mitigation.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss this issue with me further, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks, Eric.

Eric P. Guth, P.E.
Director of Public Works
Castle Pines North
558 Castle Pines Parkway, #B4-208
Castle Rock, CO  80108
Office 303.705.0200
Cell 303.887.1297
Fax 303.705.0201

www.cpngov.com


August 11, 2009

Editor: Just want to convey, that your CPN [e-mail] Updates are the best; informative and to the point. I read every word!

Great job and glad you are around to send this info to the wonderful Residents in CPN! Thanks again, we appreciate all you do! REALLY GREAT JOB! love the email updates and love the paper, I read that cover to cover too!

Kim Maguire, CMCA
Premier Property Management, LLC


August 2009

The Castle Pines Connection is a welcome addition to our neighborhood.  Not only is it our source for local information, but it helps build relationships within the community as well.  We have found that our advertising in The Connection has generated numerous new relationships with our law firm within our neighborhood.  In fact, we ran the same ad at the same time with The Connection and another local publication and found that The Connection well outperformed the other.

We extend our congratulations to The Connection for their success and look forward to continuing our support of The Connection as readers and advertisers.

- Christina McDonald, Vice President, Johansen, McDonald & Associates, P.C, Attorneys and Counselors at Law


August 1, 2009

Hi Terri –

Thanks for the article and the beautiful front page picture!

I thought you would like to know that since the paper came out yesterday, the enrollment applications (to be added on the 2010-2011 waitlist) have been pouring in!!  Lots of folks are reading your paper!

Many thanks!

Erin Kane,
American Academy President


July 2009

As a CPN resident, I love The Connection and our opportunity to advertise in it.   I appreciate you and the work you all at the paper do.

Thanks again,
Brandon Linn,
Bumgarner & Linn Orthodontics



July 2009

You’ll get the government you deserve

CPN’s upcoming election will choose our city’s leaders for the next four years.  What kind of government will that be?  The government we deserve!  CPN citizens, it’s time to step up and get involved. 

Listening to folks around town, I hear some rumblings and questions about some of the actions our city has taken.  But talking with your neighbors won’t solve anything – the only way to fix things is to speak up. 

Sure, you’re busy (work, kids, whatever), so it’s easier to assume that someone else will do it.  And frankly, some city officials would prefer that you stay apathetic and stay home. Unfortunately, some of our city officials are prone to view any questions about their performance as a “personal attack” or being “against the city.”  But this isn’t Iran.  In our democracy, it’s quite possible to voice divergent views and still be considered a patriot.  In fact, healthy debate leads to better decisions.

I truly appreciate all of the hard work that our city officials have put in this past year, and they have accomplished a lot to get the city up and running.  But let’s hope the next phase of our city’s history will be marked by TRUE citizen involvement.

To accomplish that, we need two things:  1) city officials who will truly communicate the implications of what they are working on, and 2) citizens who will get involved.

What can the city do?

The city sends us an Annual Report, a monthly newsletter and periodic emails, and uses a website, Twitter and RSS feeds.  But do they use these tools to tell you what YOU really want to know?  Consider a few examples:

  • Did you know the city planned to adopt the fireworks ban?  We got a flurry of emails a few days before July 4th saying that all fireworks are banned in CPN, but what did they tell us BEFORE they voted?  Nothing. In fact, the word “fireworks” was never mentioned in any city documents leading up to the decision.  The whole topic was buried in an agenda item about adopting international building codes, and the only notice of the public hearing was in the “legal notices” section of the Castle Rock News-Press.
  • Have you noticed new “city franchise fees” on some of your utility bills?  The city adopted these new fees earlier this year.  Did you get any notice from the city?  Nope.  (Hey, at least on this topic, you could have figured it out if you read the minutes.) 

  • What is the city’s true financial condition?  Some of our city councilmen have been asking this question since the day they were sworn in, but even they had trouble getting an answer.  Finally, a few months ago, the city council voted to change how financial information is reported, and some financial statements are now available on the city’s website.  Did the city inform you of any of this?  Nope, you just have to be watching the website.  Is this the “transparency” we were expecting?
  • Did you know that candidates for the upcoming election need to have their petitions filed by August 24?  The City published a web page about the upcoming election on June 4, but more than a month later, the topic still hadn’t been covered in the city’s newsletter or email alerts. 

What can YOU do?

The best way to get responsive government is to have active citizens.  You can:

  • Run for office. All city officials are up for election this fall – Mayor, Treasurer, Clerk, and all 6 city council seats. I think some of the incumbents have done a great job and hope they run again, but mixing in some new blood is always a good idea.

    Get involved.  Campaign for good candidates.  Go to a meeting – and speak up! Join a committee. And it’s not just the City – also pay attention to the other CPN organizations that still control much of what is done in CPN – the Metro District, Master Association, and Parks Authority.

  • Read this publication, the Castle Pines Connection – print, web, and email alerts - and support their advertisers.  Right now, this privately-run, advertiser-supported company is the only place that you’ll find information on many of the important topics facing our community. 

So, step up, do something!  I was active in CPN for several years; it was rewarding and I still have people come up to me and thank me for some thing that I did while in office.  I’ve done my turn, now it’s your turn!  Figure out something you can do – big or small – to make our community a better place.

Linda Nuzum

Editor's note: Linda Nuzum previously served on CPN’s Master Association, Metro District, and Parks Authority boards.  She can be reached at .


July 2009

Power politics in the City of Castle Pines North

Letter to the editor submitted by Jeffrey Huff, Hidden Pointe

After the demotion of the CPN City Treasurer, which was extensively reported on in the last edition of this publication, recent inquiries have revealed that the City owes more than $1.5 million to various entities, most of it in contractual obligations to consulting firms and lawyers.

In an effort to obtain desperately needed funds, the City recently requested jurisdiction over the local water provider, the CPN Metro District. The District is funded by your tax dollars. The City’s plan would divert tax revenues needed for water to other municipal uses and transfer management of our local parks to a multinational corporation.

A July 14 letter from the mayor to the District requested the “incremental integration of services and functions of the District within the City.” Much like a python eats a pig, the City plans to swallow the District whole and digest it bit by bit.

In evaluating the City’s ability to wisely manage the operations and revenues of the District, consider the following:

Until June, the City was paying $160,629 per month for city management services from CH2M Hill. This amount was recently reduced to $79,124 per month. Taxpayers can applaud the cost reductions, but city expenditures were irrationally high from the outset and spending continues to exceed revenue.

As reported in June, city council “stripped the city treasurer of virtually all power” and appointed a deputy treasurer citing “a lack of confidence in financial disclosure and transparency.”

Four former members of the CPN Master Association, now city officials, authorized a loan of $200,000 from the public funds of the Master Homeowners Association. Those same individuals now resist paying the balance of the money back despite earlier public promises to do so.

The City has enacted 12 ordinances which require the payment of a fee or tax. This occurred after campaign promises of “no new property taxes for any CPN resident.”

I have confidence that the CPN Metro District can responsibly manage water resources, provide
renewable water for the future, and manage our parks and open space.

Until the City lives up to its promise of transparency in government and demonstrates some measure of fiscal responsibility, I cannot advocate the transfer of millions of dollars of tax revenues from the District to the City.

(Editor’s note: Huff has served on the CPN Election Commission, The CPN Master Association, The Hidden Pointe Metro District, and the Hidden Pointe HOA)


July 2009

Disincorporation of the City of Castle Pines North?

Letter to the Editor submitted by Dan Schatz, CPN Homeowners For A Solid Foundation

Numerous Castle Pines North homeowners have approached the homeowners advocacy group, CPN Homeowners For A Solid Foundation, requesting the initiation of a ballot petition for disincorporation.

As research of both the pros and cons of disincorporating our City of Castle Pines North, careful consideration must be given to any impact both the campaign and the subsequent dissolution may have on all Castle Pines North homeowners and businesses.

A request is hereby made to all CPN homeowners and business establishments for a written response to CPN Homeowners For A Solid Foundation for
input to include both positive and negative affects that may be realized as a result of the disincorporation process.

Send comments to 8181 Monarch Blvd., Box 49, Castle Pines North, CO, 80108.


July 14, 2009

Editor,
 
Thank you for going out of your way to include coverage of adult athletics in your newspaper this summer.  I have to tell you that as owner of South Metro Volleyball in Castle Pines North, our article in your June/July edition had a positive impact on our community in more ways than one.
 
First, the article drew in some local mothers who have really been wanting to get back into volleyball, but were not sure where to start.  A bunch of these women now get out and play regularly thanks to exposure of our adult volleyball organization through your paper.
 
Second, players in the women's grass league at Retreat Park often patronize local eateries and other businesses before or after playing on Tuesday nights in Castle Pines North--bringing in additional and unexpected income to our city.  I think that this proven direct impact of exposure in our humble community paper is quite inspiring.
 
Thank you again!
Tracy Dudley
President
South Metro Volleyball


July 11, 2009

Dear Editor,

I had to write to let you know of some of the great calls I received as a result of my Courtesy Bootcamp ad and press release in the last issue of The Castle Pines Connection.  The first call was from a resident who works for Professional Document Solutions, Inc., an authorized Xerox sales agent.  I was invited to conduct a bootcamp at their training day, and it was very well received.

The second was a complete surprise - Fox 31 and the Tom Martino Show.  One of their staff had seen a copy of The Castle Pines Connection and called me to arrange a meeting.

I'm thrilled to find people such as these are reading this publication and finding me through it.

Anthonette Klinkerman
The Goddess of Greeting Cards
CEO - Courtesy Bootcamp


July 2, 2009

I love the e-mail updates. I like to get the news when it's happening rather than a month later in the paper edition. The paper edition is also so large I never get the time to read it.

Thanks for the udpate!

Colette

Colette,

Thank you for your comments regarding The Castle Pines Connection email distribution, as well as your feedback regarding the printed publication. I appreciate very much your willingness to share your thoughts on this...it is your community paper and it should offer what you want.

The great news is that we are looking at going to a monthly publication starting next year! This will bring you the news more often, and it will also decrease the size of the paper.

Thanks again for contacting us,

Terri


May 2009

from City Treasurer Doug Gilbert

The city has now entered a phase when its budgeted expenses need reduction. In Colorado, cities cannot spend more than revenue. Current revenues do not support budgeted expenses so adjustments must be made.

Managing the finances in a start up city is fraught with unpredictability in good economic times, let alone in the midst of the greatest economic crisis the country has seen in over 60 years. Castle Pines North is no exception and must now make adjustments in its budget to conform to revenues.

Given current needs, action has to be taken and I outline some key aspects of that below. That is nothing new for a city and is being done in virtually every city in Colorado. Our city is perfectly capable of undertaking this action.

When the idea of incorporating our community bubbled up in October 2006, there were some pivotal ideas that often were mentioned. Of those, two remain in my mind as central to why we should, as a community, seek to become a city: control of our destiny and accountability. A key part of accountability of government is transparency in financial matters.

Over the past nearly year and a half since official incorporation, city government has certainly demonstrated the benefits of control over our destiny with the LaGae rezoning and now with the potential of The Canyons annexation. That same period has not demonstrated, in my estimation, an acceptable level of accountability and especially in financial transparency.

Many transparency issues arise early in any city’s life due to the complexity of forming a city. New systems have to be put into place, new people hired, and city officials have to learn the complexities of municipal government and finance.

Estimates of revenues and expenses have to be made with no historical guide and often incomplete information from other governmental entities. As we learn and grow, changes in approach will be required.

The City of Castle Pines North took a unique approach in outsourcing virtually all city services, except legal and law enforcement, to a single contractor. During the incorporation feasibility phase, several models of public-private outsourcing for city services were examined.

Generally the research for these models returned positive results and provided support the notion of outsourcing. Our research did not, however, provide us with a full understanding of the need for both strategic and operational checks and balances. Having both is key to accountability and transparency.

As we now understand, with the benefit of hindsight, virtually all of the outsourced city services models have some form of operational checks and balances placed on all contractors. Usually this comes in the form of a city manager hired by the city, with accountability to all city officials. Such a city manager owes loyalty only to the city and to no contractor.

City council and other elected officials, in contrast, provide only strategic checks and balances, not the needed day-to-day oversight. Our model of outsourcing does not have an independent city manager. Such a level of indepence could be provided by hiring a different firm to manage and oversee finance and accounting functions.

It is my belief that the current outsourcing structure needs to be changed and that the changes should be made yesterday. To provide needed operational checks and balances, the change that I advocate and have advocated for months, is to remove all finance and accounting functions from the current city management firm. Instead, those tasks should be carried out by an independent professional accounting firm.

My initial research indicates that cost of this change will not exceed budgeted costs and should save the city money. Such a change would also provide much needed operational checks and balances through independent advice from a firm held to the highest professional standards of the accounting profession.

At the time of writing this column, I consulted the city website and noted that no monthly financial reports have been published since September 2008. It is difficult to express my level of frustration and disappointment as treasurer at this situation. I have heard of similar frustrations from many citizens of the city. This sorry state mandates the significant immediate change that I proposed above.

Additionally, I am making an offer as your elected treasurer to conduct information sessions on the current financial state of the city. More needs to be done in terms of contract adjustments and much of that accountability is in the hands of the mayor and city council. In my mind, council’s first step needs to be placing operational finance and accounting with an independent professional accounting firm immediately.

If there is an interest in city financial information sessions or for information on any other matters where I can provide information, please feel free to contact the treasurer at .


April 2009

Hi Terri,
I saw the article on the Live BIG 5K in the Castle Pines Connection. Thank you so much for including our event in the Connection, we greatly appreciate it.
Best regards,
Rob
 
Rob Matson
Director, Treasurer
Live BIG

April 22, 2009

Dear Editor,

Wow, I'm surprised to hear there is hunting so close to Castle Pines North.  I have no qualms about hunting for food.  The location may not affect me personally so much in the Pineridge community, but I would oppose the hunting due to a personal anecdote.  When I first moved into Pineridge upon inception in 2001, a stray bullet came flying into my home, 10 days after closing (still visible).  The bullet shot through only a minute after pacing back and forth while taking a phone call, along the bullets path, then lying down to talk.  Quite frightening as one can imagine.  I called the police, and 4 squad cars came by within minutes.  Police determined it might have been a hunter, legal or not, don't know.  So I don't recommend hunting so close neighborhoods and highways, even if it's on private property.  I'd say, keep it deep in the woods, where it's more beautiful anyway.

-James-


April 21, 2009

Regarding the letters to the editor from Terry Rigo and C. Quinlan about hunting and hunters:

I find it interesting that both authors took the opportunity to respond to the article about hunting in the Castle Pines area with baseless, ad hominem attacks on hunting and hunters. As a Castle Pines North resident and a hunter, I agree that prudence dictates ceasing hunting with rifles on the parcel of land in question (although it's quite interesting that since 1947 the only reported issue with hunting on this property is that a wounded elk ran from the property).
 
What I disagree with is the writers' diatribe against hunting and hunters. There was nary a fact between the two letters, but certainly plenty of imagination and emotion as well as ignorance about hunting and hunters. I recognize and support that the writers are entitled to express their opinions, but perhaps the expression of said opinions would garner more consideration if the writers didn't resort to name-calling and the omission of facts to support their opinions.
 
For both writers, let me address your misconception about what is satisfying and rewarding about hunting. First, I know of no hunter who takes joy from "killing or maiming a helpless animal." Quite the contrary, hunters take satisfaction in the successful hunt of a worthy quarry - a big game animal that possesses significant ability to evade predators. I've hunted for over 10 years, and many of those years have not come close enough to an elk or deer to take a shot. Big game animals are quite skilled at avoiding predators, be they wolves, coyotes or hunters. The lack of these abilities in an animal is also why most hunters will not hunt bison or on game farms. Neither is sporting.
 
Let me be perfectly clear that no ethical hunter takes any satisfaction whatsoever in wounding or maiming an animal. The Colorado Division of Wildlife's hunter safety education program strongly emphasizes the humane practice of a swift, one-shot kill. Even with a skilled hunter's best efforts, this doesn't always happen. All of the hunters I know are deeply frustrated and concerned if an animal is wounded, and will do everything possible to quickly put a wounded animal out of its misery.
 
For C. Quinlan, your assertion that hunters are not hunters, but killers, is mistaken and insulting.  And the "jones" hunters get from hunting is from successfully combining hunting skill with some luck to put some nutritious, natural meat in the freezer. Many five-star restaurants have featured elk and other wild game meats on their menus for years; my family and friends have the opportunity to enjoy a similar meal at my home. The only difference is that I killed the animal. I didn't pay someone else to do it for me and put the meat conveniently in a package at the grocery store. Whether you buy meat at the grocery store, or purchase other animal-based goods, you are at least partially responsible for the killing of whatever animal died in the production of those goods.
 
You also state that a hunting is letting "some idiot roam around blasting away with a rifle full of bullets." This too, is simply not factual. For one, this statement may leave readers with the incorrect impression that hunters must have dozens, if not hundreds, of bullets in their rifles. Colorado Division of Wildlife regulations limit semi-automatic centerfire rifle hunters to six bullets in the rifle. Most rifle hunters use bolt-action rifles, which further limit them, typically, to four bullets. In my ten-plus years of hunting, and in my review of hunting articles in the media and on the Division of Wildlife's website, I have yet to hear or read about this "blasting away" you write about.
 
Let's see, while I was roaming around the woods for five days last elk season, like an idiot, I blasted away a grand total of - zero times. And that's not the first time that's happened for me or for many other hunters.
 
B. Potter
Castle Pines North

April 2009

Terri,

Thank you for the wonderful article on Village Books that appeared in the April issue of the Castle Pines Connection! We appreciate you taking the time to chat with us and featuring our new business adventure in your paper. We have already had some positive responses.

Thanks again,
Stephanie & Steven Alaniz

Steven and Stephanie-

It was our pleasure featuring your bookstore in the April/May issue of The Castle Pines Connection.  The personal service and attention you bring to your customers is unique and noteworthy. We’re also pleased to hear that you received a positive response from your exposure. We’re glad to help.

Sincerely,  Terri Wiebold, Editor


Hunting on the King ranch land in CPN (NO!)

RE: Hunting on the King Ranch Land
*The article in the castle pines connection*

I want to add my voice and opinion to this matter; I would also like to be added to any email notification list for when the hearing date is rescheduled. I find that it is incredible that hunting with high powered rifles was ever allowed in this area, since the area was developed. This state surely has 100's or 1000's of square miles of remote areas for hunters, but even THINKING of allowing it at this location is absolute nonsense. For one thing, if someone gets hurt by a stray bullet, the liablity to the city/county would be large. The common sense of the matter is that it should absolutely not be allowed and considering it is or should not even be debatable. Not only the danger but what about the noise.

My personal opinion on hunting in general, is that I cannot understand what kind of joy someone gets from killing or maiming a helpless animal. Is this sport? Some sport. People need to get a life. The story of the wounded elk being disoriented and running into the Metro District shops' garage door after it was shot in the hind end...what a nice story. Did the hunter ever consider the pain that animal felt or the fear for its life and not knowing what happened to it. I could not live with myself if I knew (even by accident) that I caused this animal to either die or perhaps suffer for months, because some ignoramous with a gun thought he would go out one day and have some fun shooting a helpless animal.

If you like to shoot guns and kill living things, join the marines and defend this country; That is something worth your time, if you want to be a hero. It is only sporting if the animal has a gun also and can shoot back; There are plenty of those (animals) in Iraq and other places in the world if one gets his kicks killing with guns, but they will be shooting back.

If we have to let people hunt, then it should be in very remote areas. My vote is not no, but ASOLUTELY **** NO!  to allowing hunting this close to people and families. What if a stray bullet hits a car on I-25 and causes an accident or worse? I know a little about balistics and these bullets can travel a long ways if fired into the air at a proper angle.

It is time for people to start thinking a little and using there brains. This should be the easiest decision the presiding judge has ever made in his life.

Terry Rigo
CPN Resident.


April 14, 2009

How about an article on the proposal to close Happy Canyon Road and the negative impact on the Castle Pines North community. Increased traffic on Daniels Park Road to Castle Pines Parkway, Buffalo Trail, Monarch. The increased traffic issues like speeding and additional traffic on those streets. Increased maintenance costs of the roads due to increased traffic. Potential decrease in property values to homes that border any of the roads with increased traffic.

Forest Park HOA opposes the attempt to close Happy Canyon Road. We have 287 homes in our HOA.

Thank You.
Cindy Broekemeier
Forest Park HOA
President


April 1, 2009

I applaud Chris Dooley for being the lone voice for Castle Pines North taxpayers who are concerned with increasing living costs in our community, the latest of which are the franchise fees with IREA and Xcel Energy.  It may only be three percent, but that is three percent OF MY MONEY.  Unless we want to end up like Washington, D.C., any and all increases must be challenged.  I urge our council members to operate lean.  We can have a nice community and still be frugal.  There is a big difference between "needs" and "wants."  So instead of raising fees and raising taxes, may I humbly challenge our council representatives to find ways to DECREASE our fees and taxes.  My wallet, and my family, would be most appreciative.
 
C.C. Black
CPN Resident


March 31, 2009

Two and a half years ago, my husband and I moved out to Castle Pines precisely because it would afford my aging mother the opportunity to remember moments of her life in Evergreen.  That life, lived so long ago, included deer and elk grazing quietly right in our front yard, bedding down against the rock wall and moving freely from mountain to plain.  My mother, who is 84 this year, has spent many early mornings and early evenings watching the deer and elk move through the back yard where we live.  I grew up with a respectful wonder for these creatures and I am so completely appalled that killers (they are not hunters) get some kind of jones on by killing these animals - and it's nauseating that some fool actually takes payment to encourage their deaths.  Wrongo, Bonzo.

Yes, it's a safety issue - but, clearly a safety issue for both human and animal.  The stupidity of letting some idiot roam around blasting away with a rifle full of bullets that could easily shatter not just the hind quarters of an elk, but a small child's head is just nuts.  Apparently, neither King nor his paying clientele has a thought for anything but quenching their own blood lust and greed.

Mr. King should take his greed and leave the area.  His greed would be no match for my mother's sadness at this blood killing - and certainly no match for my sharp tongue.

Sincerely,

C. Quinlan
Castle Pines


It never fails to astonish and to disgust me about the way people drive on Monarch Blvd., especially after dark. A sensible motorist travels about 35 mph between Lincoln and Castle Pines Parkway after sunset because of the road signs warning to look out for deer on the road.

Recently, two drivers in SUV's were riding my bumper and then passed me traveling over 60 mph hurtling around blind spots in the road. It's nitwits like these who crash into the deer, deer that are beautiful and innocent creatures--animals that enchant our neighborhood.

Just last week, a doe stricken by a car lay dead by the side of the road. This isn't the first time I've witnessed this melancholy sight. What a shame. What's next? Running over a bike rider or a child? Grow up, speeders, and conduct yourselves responsibly.

Michelle M. Keller
Castle Pines North


“Thanks for the first issue of The Castle Pines Connection. I read every page with pride! Thanks for keeping this communication medium alive and well in our City. Since I am not as actively involved as I would like to be, you are my source for reliable information. Thanks for all the efforts with the publication and the website. All of you are valuable assets to our City.”

Galen R. Crowder
Castle Pines North


I’m very impressed with the amount and variety of information the “Castle Pines Connection” offers. I used to quickly skim headlines of the previous publication to find articles of interest to me; usually there were just a few. This new publication offers much more.

The paper does a good job of connecting us with information that contributes to building our community. I like reading profiles of new businesses, keeping up with unending road info, knowing more about continuing efforts, outcomes of events, ongoing issues specific to other city wards and activities here and in the Village.

For the first time, it helps me identify with CPN as a city and gives me a stronger sense of pride and of ownership of MY city. Thank you for that.

In future editions, I encourage your paper to frequently look beyond 80108 to develop our sensitivity towards those “invisible” and ongoing societal needs and issues of homelessness, hunger, lack of housing and transportation that exist not far from us (and for some, within our city). Highlight what’s being done by the Douglas County Task Force, the Women’s Crisis Center, the Housing Coalition, churches and area organizations to address these issues.

I look forward to seeing the impact the paper can have as a source of information, in building community and being a catalyst for change.

Jan Derks
Castle Pines North

      
 
 
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