Letter: Former Windsor Mayor Upset Ballpark Funding Pulled
Former Windsor Mayor John Vazquez was upset when Weld County pulled its funding for a planned youth sports complex.
Here is what Vazquez sent in a letter to the Weld County commissioners:
Dear Weld County Commissioners:
I am writing this letter to this Board of County Commissioners as I recently learned of the actions, by you the Commissioners that have potentially long and lasting impacts on the Town of Windsor and the northern Colorado region. The withdrawal from the C-PACE grant program without proper notice to the entities impacted in a manner as deviant as the actions taken by this Board without any transparency is underhanded. It certainly is not the actions that most would consider “Business Friendly” and certainly does not display collaboration or cooperation with a community this Board represents.
I feel this Board has a history of retaliation against my community when an individual runs for a County Commissioner seat and does not have the “approval” of the existing Commissioners. This prevents fair and open elections when candidates are influenced through the punishing of the community the candidate represents. Most recently, it appears that Mayor Melendez running against Commissioner Freeman is “undesirable” by the existing Commissioners, so they punish Windsor for her daring to challenge the an incumbent. This is not the first time this has happened to Windsor or Town representatives.
In November 2015, I announced my intention to run for Weld County Commissioner in District 1. As Mayor of Windsor I had several projects with the County that were nearly completed and involved verbal agreements to proceed. After my announcement I felt ostracized by the County and the County reneged on their agreements that took years to negotiate and get funded.
Specifically, the Commissioners retaliated against me and the Town of Windsor by refusing to appropriately fund the traffic signal at Crossroads Boulevard and County Line Road. Windsor requested $50,000 from Weld County, which at one time they agreed to pay, to help cover the cost for the $300,000 traffic signal. Larimer County agreed to pay $100,000 and Windsor agreed to pay for the $150,000 balance as this intersection had seen several fatality accidents and was a critical safety issue for the residents of Windsor. The signal would benefit the entire county, and in exchange for the partial funding Windsor would take over maintenance of a mile stretch of Weld County Road 62. The Weld County Commissioners instructed their staff to only offer $10,000 after I left office, but no funding for the signal while I was still Mayor.
The Weld County Commissioners also instructed their staff to halt work on an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on development standards with the Town of Windsor and Weld County around the same time. This IGA had been negotiated for two years and was critical for residential and commercial planning for Windsor. A few months after I withdrew from the Weld County Commissioner race I was informed that the negotiations had resumed and an agreement was reached with Mayor Melendez.
Several years might have gone by, but you, the Weld County Commissioners, have not changed your ways. This time you are taking your frustrations out on Windsor through the Future Legends Sports Complex project by voting to dissolve county participation in a grant program that would not involve any public taxpayer funds or create any liabilities for the County. It is clear that you are retaliating against Kristie Melendez, the Mayor of Windsor, because she declared her candidacy for the District 1 commissioner seat against the same incumbent commissioner I intended to run against in 2016.
Let me review the record. The state-supported Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Finance program, also known also as C-PACE , allows developers to secure low-interest and low-risk loans. It is only available to property owners located in counties participating in the state-backed program. On Oct. 23, 2017, the Board of Weld County Commissioners unanimously adopted Resolution No. 2017-3636, authorizing participation in the state C-PACE program, a program supported by the State of Colorado’s Energy Office. On February 20, the Board of County Commissioners received notification that the Future Legends Sports Complex had submitted a program application seeking $20 million in C-PACE funding.
On February 26, six days later, and with no public hearings or notification to the Town of Windsor or the private entities, you voted unanimously to dissolve county participation. You have harmed the chances of this project moving forward. The Future Legends Sports Complex would provide Windsor with a major and recurring source of revenue from hotel visitations, retail opportunities and sports tourism activities. During the construction phase the best estimates are that 1,500 jobs would have been created. At a time when revenues from oil and gas are declining and the world economy is unstable, it is unfortunate that you have prioritized petty politics over the best interests of our citizens.
The project’s financial team sent you a letter dated March 26, 2020, which stated that the project would include over 250 hotel rooms, a retail center with national and local tenants, a viable sports venue and more. This letter states in part, “The annual economic impact is in the tens of millions, with seven-figure annual tax revenue. Partners include local construction giant Hensel Phelps, several Colorado Rockies, led by our own Ryan Spilborghs, and a host of other business people, athletes and people of influence.”
Weld County residents recognize cronyism. We do not live under an oligarchy and we cannot let our public officials govern in this way. I respectfully request that you abide by your commitment in 2017 and authorize Weld County’s participation in the C-PACE program.
Former Mayor Town of Windsor