Well sort of. Mayor Wietkunat signed her name to a letter written by Fort Collins Utilities staff. Her position on holding staff accountable to their job is still unclear. She has taken no action to correct the failure of the on-bill financing program, even after acknowledging that it is failing. Councilman Gerry Horak is the only council member I know of who has read his constituent letters. Councilman Horak is directing staff to fix the problem and is meeting with myself and other community members.
The letter written by FCU staff demonstrates their lack of action and it attempts to confuse and placate the audience. In addition to poor word choice and sentence structure, the letter is misleading.
Staff states that their program covers 100% of upfront cost but fail to mention that it costs $235 to get their loan. ”The pilot program allows customers to choose the scope of the work hence the net impact to their utility bill.” In reality the program limits customer choice by making some options, which should be affordable, unaffordable. The program also has unrealistic exclusions. Refrigerators are excluded because someone could steal the refrigerator. I didn’t know that refrigerator theft was a problem in FTC. The letter goes on to state that the program is available to owner occupied and rental properties. What they don’t tell you is that the landlord must pay the loan for the tenants. Rental properties are not specifically excluded, but in practicality they are. Landlords have declined to participate in the program. There are no landlords participants because it isn’t practical.
Staff will be going back to council to ask for continued guidance for the project. The review that staff is preparing for the fall should have been done in 2010 when they started to work on this. The fact that four years later they are finally getting around to thinking about these questions is a testament to the sour impression that people have of government. This work is unacceptable and our “city leaders” need to act like leaders and hold their staff accountable to their jobs! If the current leadership can’t do that, then we need to find new leaders!