City Council Candidate Answers: Jill Gaebler, District 5

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Jill Gaebler is running for re-election of her city council seat in District 5. Here are her answers to the questions we sent to every candidate across the districts. The only changes we have made are for formatting. Everything else is exactly as submitted.

Need to know which city council district you are in so you can be ready to vote April 4th in local elections? HERE is the map of the current districts. 

Do you support establishing a salary for city council members that represents this full-time position serving our city? Please elaborate.

Yes. We will never have a diverse council with varied voices until we pay Councilmembers a living wage. The Council makeup is typically older, retired individuals, who have great experience, but we do need younger voices who represent a growing population in our city.

What is your opinion on current parks funding?

I voted to allow a ballot measure to be placed on the April ballot to give the voters the decision-making authority on whether or not we should increase our sales tax to better fund our parks. Our parks and open spaces are the number one reason people live and visit Colorado Springs and we must find a permanent solution toward funding these community assets.

In your opinion, how do we drive economic growth for our city?

The City’s economy has been growing over the past four years, as witnessed by a year-over-year increase in sales tax revenue to the City. It is not government’s job to bring business to our city, but it is our job to create a community where business wants to locate and a young, educated workforce wants to live and raise their families. I believe we do this by continuing to reduce regulations that prevent business from thriving, prioritizing funding for public safety, maintaining our existing roads, sidewalks, and parks, and by continuing to support the downtown growth that is wanted by young professionals, who want to live, play, work, eat, and shop, all without getting in a car.

What are the top three(3) issues you feel need to be addressed by local city government during the upcoming term.

  1. How we prioritize the spending of our limited tax dollars. I believe we must prioritize funding our basic city services and maintaining our current infrastructure. The developer-driven slate of candidates will prioritize the funding of new roads and utilities infrastructure, sacrificing our current sidewalks, which are crumbling, and providing adequate public safety to our already very large city.
  2. Finding a permanent solution to fund our stormwater infrastructure and to ensure that developers build sufficient stormwater infrastructure when they are building new developments.
  3. Banning Lewis Ranch’s development agreement. This agreement was created years ago, but there have been ongoing, secret meetings between city government and Nor’wood Development, who owns this property, to change the agreement. Nor’wood would like taxpayers to shoulder more of the development costs, which is most certainly not in the best interest of our citizens, especially when our existing infrastructure is crumbling. The public needs to be a part of these negotiations, as it is us who will be harmed by any changes to the development agreement.

What is your opinion on Colorado Springs becoming a Sanctuary City?

I believe the City is currently protecting its citizens in a humane and just way and that we must honor federal law on immigration issues. I will continue to ensure our law enforcement is treating all community members fairly and not focusing undue attention on only one group of citizens.

Do you feel that the Colorado Springs Utilities board should continue to be made up of City Council members? Please elaborate.

I strongly support the current governance of CSU as the current elected board is answerable first and foremost to the ratepayer-owners of our four-service utility. Colorado Springs Forward and several of our most powerful developers would like the board to be appointed by the Mayor. An appointed board is not answerable to the ratepayers and is likely to make utilities decisions that place utilities infrastructure costs on the backs of ratepayers instead of developers. I do not answer to developers or special interest groups and will always defend the ratepayers’ voice.

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