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Pueblo Mayor discusses fixing roads, understaffed police force, and city leadership

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- Friday, Mayor Nick Gradisar hosted a community connections meeting to talk to residents about the results of the bi-annual community survey and share the plans the city has based on the results.

During the meeting, held at the Boettcher Pavillion at the Pueblo Riverwalk, Gradisar acknowledged the three biggest concerns on the survey; road conditions, law enforcement (safety), and city leadership.

The Mayor told KRDO that he wasn't surprised that residents listed road conditions as their top concern. To help with the maintenance of the streets, he said the city is putting $10 million to help redo the roads. However, he said the city isn't going to be able to fix as many roads as last year.

"We're doing that while the price of oil doubled, and that's the main ingredient in asphalt, so we're not going to get as many streets done. But, you know that's no excuse to do what we can," said Gradisar.

According to Gradisar, the city is now looking at which streets affect the most amount of people to determine where the money should go.

"We're trying to do this in a methodical scientific manner and get those streets done that will make the most difference for the most number of people," added Gradisar

He did say some roads are already under construction for repairs. According to Gradisar, Grand Ave. Santa Fe Ave., Hudson Ave., and more have all been redone.

"24th St. was rebuilt last year," explained Gradisar. "You know, more than a million bucks went into 24th St."

The other primary concern was public safety and the effectiveness of the police force.

The mayor believes the reason people are mostly dissatisfied is that the police force is under staff, making it hard to get everything done.

According toGradisar, a public safety tax has been implemented for the last five years that raises around $4 million a year to help hire new police offers. He said the same tax would be on the ballot again this year; however, he does not think raising enough money to hire more people is the problem.

"It's not a question of money. You know, it's, you know, the George Floyd situation made it a lot worse. And you know, people getting angry at the police forces and justifiably so in terms of, you know, what those officers did was unexcused. But that's not happening in Pueblo. Unfortunately, it has an effect on our ability to recruit people to be police officers," said Mayor Nick Gradisar.

Gradisar said the public safety tax must get passed again to get crime under control.

"It's important that it passes if we're going to get a handle on crime, we're doing very well before COVID hit in terms of getting control of crime," said Mayor Nick Gradisar.

The last major concern is about satisfaction with city leadership. Data reveals that residents believe the effectiveness of appointed boards and commissioners is not as effective as it has been in previous years.

The Mayor said they don't currently have a solution to this yet, but they're working on it.

"That's what we're working on. You know, we want to be as transparent as possible, trying to make sure that people have the information that's necessary, let them know why decisions are being made in the City of Pueblo City Council. City Council will have to deal with, you know, their perceptions from the public, " said Gradisar.

To read the results of the full survey, click here.

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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO

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