City Councilman Ross Cunniff seeks CSU student perspective

Audrey Weiss

City Councilman Ross Cunniff is looking to connect with students at Colorado State University on issues the City of Fort Collins faces.

A man moves his hands while speaking.
Ross Cunniff, District 5 City Councilmember of Fort Collins, holds a listening session focused on students on Feb. 8. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

Some of Cunniff’s main topics of interest he hopes to gain student insight on are transit options, environmental impact and U+2 residence concerns.

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“CSU students are probably the best and most frequent users of our transportation services,” Cunniff said. “I really want to hear how it’s working from their perspective and what improvements are (needed).”

Currently, the Fort Collins City Council has focused their attention on situations such as improving transportation services and residential parking (the residential parking permit program) and city plan. However, Cunniff wants a different perspective on these issues.

“I want to be able to connect with my constituents,” Cunniff said.

With the two-year budget plan wrapping up, city council members are looking into strategic priorities to be proposed and either fund these proposals.

Cunniff looks heavily to the perspective of the public in regards to these issues.

“To me, it’s about what we can accomplish for the citizens,” Cunniff said. “That’s what one of the things I really like about local government.”

Some of Cunniff’s main priorities are fiscal responsibilities, support for the environment, the support of neighborhoods and transparency and accountability.

“I was a very strong advocate of the Climate Action Plan… and a very strong advocate of the zero waste plan,” Cunniff said.

Cunniff has also been an advocate for the open email system, open book system and easy-access to council member spending, among other things. He said he thinks the more transparent to council is, the trustworthier they are to the public.

Cunniff said he has seen an ebb and flow in the attendance of students at council meetings, depending on the topic of interest. Students seem to be especially interested in the U+2 plan, but said there are zones available in which students and residents are able to find locations that allow more than three occupants and he is happy to discuss issues like this with students.

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“People interact with their local government everyday,” Cunniff said. “If you drive down the streets or you turn on your light switch and the lights just come on; those are interactions with your local government and that’s pretty powerful.”

Cunniff hosts monthly listening sessions, both at the Foothills Activity Center and the Senior Center. He hosts a quarterly meeting on the CSU campus open to students and faculty. Cunniff is also available to the public by phone or email.

“There’s more that I think we can do,” Cunniff said. “We’re not done.”

Collegian reporter Audrey Weiss can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @audkward