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Wayne Williams

City Councilman Wayne Williams is making a bid for Colorado Springs mayor.

Mayor John Suthers is term limited in April 2023 and Williams is the second candidate to get into the race, although he doesn't expect to start formally campaigning until late this year. 

Williams, a lawyer, would bring experience to the job as an at-large city councilman who was elected in 2019. Prior to that, he served as the secretary of state, El Paso county clerk and recorder and a county commissioner. 

If elected, Williams said, he would promote the city's economic vitality by addressing infrastructure needs, such as transportation and utilities. He would also prioritize housing, parks, police and fire. 

Housing has become a critical issue in recent years as even well-paid professionals struggle to find housing, he said.

As chairmen of the Colorado Springs Utilities board, he worked on defraying the cost of utilities connections for affordable housing projects to help encourage construction, he added.

"I want to continue to work to make sure we have both housing that’s affordable and housing that’s available," Williams said. 

Securing water for the community has been a priority for Utilities, and the agency is working on creative deals with farmers that will help them upgrade their irrigation equipment and grant Colorado Springs senior rights, he said. 

Those deals allow the city to be a good neighbor and secure necessary water to fuel growth, Williams added. 

As city parks grapple with high visitation and low funding, Williams said he would look for creative solutions. A potential source of funding could be an increase to the lodgers and rental car tax that could go to the ballot in April 2023. Williams campaigned for the a ballot question in November that would also have increased dedicated sales tax funding for parks and narrowly failed. 

On roads, residents will likely decide in November whether to extend the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority tax, an initiative that Williams backed originally, that funds major road construction projects, such as the reconstruction of pavement along Academy Boulevard from Fountain Boulevard to Milton Proby Parkway. 

It has been a successful initiative improving safety and travel time for the community, he said. 

Williams would also want to focus on making sure the community gets its fair share of state and federal transportation funding.

The city has boosted funding for the police and fire departments in recent years, and that would continue to be a priority for Williams.

Despite the competing revenue priorities, he noted Colorado Springs has a low tax burden and he would work to keep the city government frugal.

"It’s a wonderful community and I am looking forward to continuing to make it even better," he said. 

Former City Councilman and County Commissioner Darryl Glenn has also announced his bid for mayor, and several other local politicians are weighing a run for the seat, as well. 

Contact the writer at [email protected] or (719) 429-9264.

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