Castle Pines officials butt heads over road repairs

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An article on the Castle Pines website — indicating that the city spends a significant amount on road repairs — was published without a consensus of the city council and, on top of that, it's inaccurate, Castle Pines City Councilmember James Einolf told the News-Press after the Oct. 8 city council meeting.

Einolf contends Mayor Jeffrey Huff, who is running for re-election, is inappropriately using the city's website and newsletter as a political platform to combat the concerns that Huff's opponent, Dana Hall, has raised about the city's poor conditions.

“I will respectfully choose not to respond to the comments made by Councilperson Einolf,” Hall told the News-Press in an Oct. 10 email.

But Hall said she is concerned that the city's “annual under-investment in street maintenance is at least $1.8 million.”

The article Einolf is concerned about, which is in the city's Sept. 27 newsletter, indicates that the amount of money the city spends on road repairs is significantly more now than when Douglas County had the responsibility for maintaining roads, prior to the city's 2008 incorporation.

Einolf disputes that and says the county did research for him and provided numbers that he says prove that the county actually spent more — “at least $139,256 per year more on our roads than the city has.”

Huff told the News-Press recently that Einolf has brought up the issue for political reasons.

He said Einolf's numbers are wrong — that Einolf's county numbers are bigger because they include a $6 million interchange bridge at Castle Pines Parkway and Interstate 25, which isn't in city limits.

When asked about Einolf's concern that council wasn't informed about this being put on the website, Huff said it was the city's communications committee that decided to put it online. Huff provided the numbers and the communications committee worked on the article.

The communications committee consists of Huff and two other council members, Kathy DesRosiers and Kim Hoffman, and a couple of citizen volunteers, Councilmember Tera Radloff told the News-Press recently.

Radloff said she's completely comfortable with the communications committee putting this information on the website and with the committee's numbers, which she's sure were “fully vetted and accurate — that's our responsibility.”

Einolf said he agrees with Radloff's understanding of the committee's makeup, but he said there is no committee anymore, and hasn't been since the Aug. 13 council meeting, because the city, after hiring a public relations firms, Augilar Public Relations, agreed to disband it.

Einolf referenced the Aug. 13 minutes: “(Council Member) Kathy DeRosiers: Requested that Council disband the Communications Committee in light of hiring Aguilar. Mayor Huff agreed that communications should be transitioned to outside consultants.”

Einolf said after the decision to eliminate the committee, he requested a couple of times that everything prior to publishing be sent to the councilmembers via email in case there were inaccuracies — and he said news releases have been sent, but not the newsletters.

“This stuff was printed because Jeff Huff gave it to the PR firm and instructed them to print it,” said Einolf, who added the newsletter typically focuses on things like coyote sightings.

DesRosiers told the News-Press the Sept. 27 article stemmed in part from the many questions that attendees at the city's Sept. 21 Oktoberfest asked about road maintenance.

The city's newsletter information about road repairs expenditures can be found at www.castlepinesgov.com/news/newsletter/2013/newsletter_2013-09_2.php.

The county's numbers provided byEinolf can be found at www.OurCastlePines.com/cityVsCounty.pdf.

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