Elections Today, Woodward Stays

I have two topics for you this week.

First, today is Election Day. Hopefully, if you are a resident and registered voter in Fort Collins, you have already sent your mail-in ballot. If not, hand-carry them to one of the three ballot drop-off locations by this evening. Ballots must be in the hands of the City Clerk by 7:00 PM. The locations are:

– Fort Collins City Hall, 300 LaPorte Avenue (open until 7:00 PM)
– Fort Collins Police Services building, 2221 S. Timberline Road (open until 7:00 PM)
– Larimer County Courthouse Offices Building, 200 W. Oak (open until 5:00 PM)

The Chamber has endorsed candidates that it thinks are ethical and will have the best interests of the entire community at heart while supporting policies that foster the creation of good-paying jobs. The Chamber has endorsed:

– Mayor: Karen Weitkunat
– District 1: Butch Stockover
– District 3: Gino Campana
– District 5: Ross Cunniff

# # #

The other topic is Woodward. As you know from the news media and communications from the Chamber, the company was in the process of making a decision about where to site its new $220 million corporate headquarters. Though company leaders looked at numerous locations, Woodward’s first choice was the Link-N-Greens property at the northwest corner of Mulberry and Lemay. Last Tuesday night the City Council voted 6 to 1 to approve a package of tax rebates and fee waivers. Members of the City Council supporting the ordinance were Karen Weitkunat, Gerry Horak, Aislinn Kottwitz, Ben Manvel, Lisa Poppaw and Wade Troxell.

There was strong support from the business community.

City Manager Darin Atteberry, several members of the Council and citizens discussed how epic this decision was for the community. It will have strong positive impacts for decades.

There were a few detractors, of course. One speaker that night said that companies need to ‘pay their fair share’ and the community should not give out ‘corporate welfare.’ I don’t want to dignify that with too much attention other than to say that it reflects a tired and misguided philosophy common with a vocal minority of citizens.

My response is that Woodward has been ‘paying their fair share’ for 57 years. The company’s economic contribution to the community has far, far, far outweighed the ‘cost’ of having them here. And as far as the ‘corporate welfare’ slur, the headline in the paper the next day should have been “Woodward Makes $220 Million Investment in Fort Collins; Might Get $23 Million Back.” The animus of some people toward business is a thing of wonder! Fortunately, a huge majority of Fort Collins residents don’t share this view. (See polling data here on FortCollinsWorks.com)

In the end, after a year-and-a-half, Woodward and the City were able to come to mutually acceptable and beneficial terms. The community will benefit for decades in the future.