Mayor Melendez Urges Residents to Contact Commissioners in Support of Project
April 7, 2020
Submitted by the Town of Windsor
The Future Legends Sports Complex (formerly known as Colorado National Sports Park) is a private project with a public partnership component tied to the Town of Windsor. With the construction of a 118-acre sports tourism park underway at the location commonly known as the Diamond Valley ballfields, Weld County Commissioners made a last-minute decision without making notice to any of the participating parties to pull out of a statewide program that makes private funding available to qualifying projects.
The state-supported Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Finance program, also known also as the C-PACE clean energy program, 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 clean energy 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, equaling roughly 13% of its capital stack.
To participate in C-PACE, the property owner engages with a selected capital provider. In this case, owners of the Future Legends Sports Complex chose Petros PACE Finance LLC, to prepare and execute a financing agreement. The capital provider then instigates project closing and assessment records with the county where the property resides. With C-PACE no public funds are required for the program and no county liabilities are created.
That is when, according to Windsor Economic Development Director Stacy Miller, the Future Legends Sports Complex project’s future was jeopardized by a single decision made by the Board of Weld County Commissioners.
Only six days later—on February 26 and with no prior indication that Weld County commissioners intended to back out of the C-PACE program—Weld County commissioners voted unanimously to dissolve county participation. It appears the decision to disavowal program support was in response to notification that the board received from Petros PACE Finance, LLC’s that the project intended to secure C-PACE funding.
“By all appearances, the Weld County commissioners had to know that recusal from the C-PACE program would damage the project’s success,” said Windsor Mayor Kristie Melendez. “This project was set to provide the town with a major and revolving source of revenue generated from hotel visitation, retail opportunities, and sports tourism activities.”
Melendez notes, “If C-PACE was such bad policy, then why was it passed unanimously in 2017, sat on the county and state books for almost three years and was only terminated after an application from Windsor was submitted? Why didn’t the Town of Windsor or anyone on the project get a courtesy call to hear the concerns and have an opportunity to address or refute the decision?”
Aside from supporting the local economy, Melendez states the bigger picture harms Weld County’s economy as well.
“I can’t understand why, at this crucial time, with everything our communities are facing in terms of public health and safety and when everything else in the business world as we know it is changing and crashing around us, why we can’t get Weld County to see the importance and magnitude of this project,” says an impassioned Melendez. “The jobs, the economics, the financial implications of this project are crucial and substantial and would greatly aid in our regional financial recovery. It’s not what this project brings to Windsor, but what it brings to the entire Northern Colorado Region, specifically to Weld County and to our state.”
According to Project Developer Jeff Katofsky, Future Legends was never notified that Weld County’s intention to pull out of the state-supported program. Business eligibility relied on county participation so the Petros PACE Finance, LLC loan was no longer an option. Up until that point, the loan was secure with a closing date scheduled. It was only upon Petros PACE’s finalization of loan closing documents that the Future Legends owner became aware of Weld County’s program dissolution.
Various attempts were made between the organization representing the financial interests of the loan, Mayor Melendez, and multiple state and local dignitaries to encourage Weld County commissioners to follow the intent of the original county resolution supporting C-PACE participation. This included offering that a third party, in place of Weld County, could handle the assessment collection obligation. In this scenario, the county would have no obligation with the project.
“There’s an option for commissioners to make an allowance for the sports complex project to move forward with C-PACE funding, but it relies on them holding up the spirit of the original resolution,” says Melendez.
Weld County commissioners’ dissolution of C-PACE participation was outside of Windsor’s control and Melendez believes that the decision is highly indefensible, as it may ensure the sports complex—which was projected to create nearly 1,500 job opportunities during the construction phase alone—will not succeed, having a severe negative impact on Windsor’s economic resources.
According to Melendez, “We were on the verge of something great, something for which we all could have been proud. Instead, we are now facing a severe negative financial impact for not only Windsor, but for all of Northern Colorado.”
“If you have a player at this time under these conditions still willing to move forward, any community would count itself lucky and would fight for it and do everything it takes to make sure that project comes to fruition,” says Melendez. “That’s what we’re fighting for right now. The lack of Weld commissioners’ support of the C-PACE program puts this project at risk of terminating and becoming a dead dream. It’s a job killer and an economy crusher that once gone, we will never get back nor is there anything of its kind to replace it with.”
A letter from Petros PACE Finance, LLC dated March 26, 2020, to Weld County commissioners, stated that the project would include over 250 hotel rooms, a retail center with national and local tenants, a viable sports venue and more. “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,” the letter states.
“I’m appalled that the Weld Board of County County Commissioners suggested Windsor find a way to make up this $20 million dollar gap. Their lack of sensitivity to the urgency of the timeline and the current state of emergency everyone is facing is part of the issue. Even if Windsor is able to find an alternative avenue for funding resources, and we are looking, my fear is that it will come too little too late and our alternatives would give up valuable tax revenues.” Melendez adds, “Windsor plans and builds for long-term success, and Future Legends Sports Complex fits into this plan. Future Legends Sports Complex is seriously threatened if we can’t get Weld County to rethink this.”
Melendez urges Weld County residents concerned with the loss of this project to contact the Weld Board of County Commissioners immediately and ask them to change their stance on C-PACE financing for the Future Legends Sports Complex project. Information about contacting commissioners is online at https://www.weldgov.com/departments/commissioners.
The stock market makes sense, and that makes me nervous – The Denver Post
When most investors look at the terrible economic numbers and then look at the rising stock market, they think, this makes no sense. How can the economy be so bad, but the stock market be so good? In fact, the S&P 500 is roughly back to the high it reached at the end of 2019, when all was good in the world of finance.
While there seems to be a disconnect, the reality is the stock market does make sense. If you believe the nation will recover from the virus and the economy will get back to normal, then there is no reason for stock prices to fall. A rational investor will look through the bad current numbers to better numbers down the road. Currently, estimates for S&P 500 earnings show the numbers getting back to their pre-2020 highs by the end of 2021. So, if investors believe everything is going to be alright in 18 to 24 months, why should investors sell stocks?
This is of course the message we have been getting from Warren Buffett for decades. You don’t sell stock in a good company just because it hits a temporary rough patch. You hold it for the long term, and its value is based on how it performs over decades, not a few months or years. Thus, it is perfectly rational for the stock market to maintain its value even in the midst of this recession. This is the message we are hearing from many on Wall Street, but that’s what makes me nervous.
In the long history of financial markets, investors as a group have never been rational. They have been primarily speculative. Their decisions drive boom and bust cycles, by dumping stocks in bad times and aggressively buying them in good times. Investors, particularly those who influence daily stock prices, have never fully “looked through” the cycles and invested rationally based on reasonable expectations for long-term growth.
For instance, a rational investor would not bid up stock prices 30% in one year just because things are going well that year. A rational investor would look at the long-term trend of profits and dividend growth and maybe pay 6% to 8% more a year from now. Conversely, a rational investor would not dump stocks in a recession because good companies get through recessions, and there is no reason to sell if you have a solid business that will recover.
So why all of a sudden are investors “looking through” the bad numbers and rationally assessing the future? Has human nature changed that quickly? Is Wall Street now only going to make rational investment decisions and promote rational pricing? We have to consider the possibility. Maybe Wall Street has learned this lesson and is finally taking Mr. Buffett’s advice.
To have confidence in this new assessment of investor behavior, we’d probably have to go through three or more recessions without any significant price declines. And we’d need to go through three or more good cycles, without crazy price increases. If we did that, then we could have more confidence that investors are looking through cycles and investing more rationally based on long-term growth and profit trends.
Because we can’t know how investors will react to the next three market cycles, we have to make some assessment about what’s actually happening today. Are investors really looking through to the recovery, so no matter how bad the numbers get, the market will hold up because eventually the economy will recover? Are we done with bear markets? I doubt it.
The odds are that this brief period of market rationality is simply a byproduct of massive Federal Reserve and Congressional support for a struggling economy. The traders who drive short-term market values are evaluating that support on a daily basis. They have never “looked through” booms or busts before, so I doubt that they started today.
This thin veil of rationality being promoted by analysts and other market commentators could be pierced by one bad press conference from Jerome Powell. If traders get the sense that the support may wane or may not be enough, they are unlikely to look beyond that day’s closing bell. The Fed says they will do whatever it takes, but keep some dry powder and safe money on the sidelines, just in case the Fed changes its mind. Markets aren’t fully rational yet.
Charlie Farrell is a CEO of Northstar Investment Advisors LLC. This article is for information and education purposes only. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and all investing involves the permanent risk of loss. Consult your individual financial adviser for guidance specific to your circumstances.
Microsoft confirms talks seeking to buy U.S. arm of TikTok – The Denver Post
NEW YORK — Microsoft confirmed Sunday it is in talks with Chinese company ByteDance to acquire the U.S. arm of its popular video app TikTok and has discussed with President Donald Trump his concerns about security and censorship surrounding such an acquisition.
In a statement, Microsoft said Microsoft and ByteDance have provided notice of their intent to explore a deal resulting in Microsoft owning and operating the TikTok service in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company said it expects those talks to conclude by Sept. 15.
Trump said on Friday that he would soon ban TikTok in the United States. Trump and CEO Satya Nadella have spoken, the company said, and Microsoft was prepared to continue exploring the purchase of TikTok’s U.S. operations after their conversation.
“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the Microsoft statement said.
The White House did not immediately comment on the Microsoft statement.
Previously, there were reports that Microsoft was in advanced talks to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok, which has been a source of national security and censorship concerns for the Trump administration. Earlier Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again raised the administration’s warnings about social media platform.
“These Chinese software companies doing business in the United States, whether it’s TikTok or WeChat — there are countless more … are feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus,” Pompeo said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“Could be their facial recognition patterns. It could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they’re connected to. Those — those are the issues that President Trump has made clear we’re going to take care of,” Pompeo said.
In its statement, Microsoft said it may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in the purchase of TikTok. Financial terms were undisclosed.
TikTok’s U.S. user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access, and its biggest investors come from the U.S., the company said earlier Sunday. “We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform,” a TikTok spokesperson said.
A federal committee has been reviewing whether Trump could ban TikTok in the U.S. Its members agree that TikTok cannot remain in the U.S. in its current form because it “risks sending back information on 100 million Americans,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
“We all agree there has to be a change … everybody agrees it can’t exist as it does,” Mnuchin said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
As speculation grew over a ban or sale of the social media platform’s U.S. business, TikTok posted a video on Saturday saying, “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”
TikTok’s catchy videos and ease of use has made it popular, and it says it has tens of millions of users in the U.S. and hundreds of millions globally. Its parent company, Bytedance Ltd., launched TikTok in 2017. It bought Musical.ly, a video service popular with teens in the U.S. and Europe, and combined the two. It has a similar service, Douyin, for users in China.
But TikTok’s Chinese ownership has raised concern about the potential for sharing user data with Chinese officials as well as censorship of videos critical of the Chinese government. TikTok says it does not censor videos and it would not give the Chinese government access to U.S. user data.
“The President, when he makes his decision, will make sure that everything we have done drives us as close to zero risk for the American people,” Pompeo said. “That’s the mission set that he laid out for all of us when we get — we began to evaluate this now several months back. We’re closing in on a solution. And I think you will see the president’s announcement shortly.”
The debate over TikTok parallels a broader U.S. security crackdown on Chinese companies, including telecom providers Huawei and ZTE. The Trump administration has ordered that the U.S. stop buying equipment from those providers to be used in U.S. networks. Trump has also tried to steer allies away from Huawei over concerns that the Chinese government has access to its data, which Huawei denies.
AP Business Writers Anne D’Innocenzio and Tali Arbel contributed to this report.
SpaceX guiding NASA astronauts to first splashdown in 45 years
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The first astronauts to ride a SpaceX capsule into orbit headed toward a retro-style splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday afternoon to close out a two-month test flight.
It will mark the first splashdown in 45 years for NASA astronauts and the first return in the gulf. Unlike Florida’s Atlantic coast, already feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Isaias, the waves and wind were calm near Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle.
Test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken departed the International Space Station on Saturday night, and awoke to a recording of their young children urging them to “rise and shine” and “we can’t wait to see you.”
“Don’t worry, you can sleep in tomorrow,” said Behnken’s 6-year-old son Theo, who was promised a puppy after the flight. “Hurry home so we can go get my dog.”
Their atypical ride home by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company — the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit — was expected to be fast, bumpy and hot, at least on the outside. Splashdown was set for 2:48 p.m. Eastern.
Plans called for the Dragon capsule, named Endeavour by its crew, to go from a screaming orbital speed of 17,500 mph (28,000 kph) to 350 mph (560 kph) during reentry in the atmosphere and finally to 15 mph (24 kph) at splashdown. Peak heating during descent: 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,900 degrees Celsius). Top G forces: four to five times the force of Earth’s gravity.
A SpaceX recovery ship with more than 40 staff, including doctors and nurses, was poised to move in at splashdown, with two smaller, faster boats leading the way. To keep the returning astronauts safe in the pandemic, the recovery crew self-quarantined for two weeks and were tested for the coronavirus.
SpaceX expected it to take a half-hour for the ship to arrive at the capsule and additional time to lift it out of the water onto the deck. A flight surgeon was going to be the first to look into the capsule, once the hatch is pulled open. After medical exams, the astronauts were expected to fly home to Houston.
The last time NASA astronauts returned from space to water was on July 24, 1975, in the Pacific, the scene of most splashdowns, to end a joint U.S.-Soviet mission known as Apollo-Soyuz. The Mercury and Gemini crews in the early to mid 1960s parachuted into the Atlantic, while most of the later Apollo capsules hit the Pacific. The lone Russian “splashdown” was in 1976 on a partially frozen lake amid a blizzard following an aborted mission; the harrowing recovery took hours.
SpaceX made history with this mission, which launched May 30 from Florida. It was the first time a private company launched people into orbit and also the first launch of NASA astronauts from home turf in nearly a decade. Hurley came full circle, serving as pilot of NASA’s last space shuttle flight in 2011 and the commander of this SpaceX flight.
NASA turned to SpaceX and also Boeing to ferry astronauts to and from the space station, following the retirement of the shuttles. Until Hurley and Behnken rocketed into orbit, NASA astronauts relied on Russian rockets.
SpaceX needs six weeks to inspect the capsule before launching the next crew around the end of September. This next mission of four astronauts will spend a full six months aboard the space station. Hurley and Behnken’s capsule will be refurbished for another flight next spring.
Boeing doesn’t expect to launch its first crew until next year. The company encountered significant software problems in the debut of its Starliner capsule, with no one aboard, last year.
By beating Boeing, SpaceX laid claim to a U.S. flag left at the space station by Hurley and the rest of the last shuttle crew. The flag — which also flew on the first shuttle flight — was carefully packed aboard the Dragon for the homecoming.
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