Colorado Springs District 3 council candidate questionnaire: Scott Hiller

Colorado Springs District 3 council candidate Scott Hiller.

KRCC News sent detailed surveys about some of the most critical issues facing city leaders, to the candidates running for the District 3 seat on the Colorado Springs City Council. The short biography below is gleaned from the candidate's response, their website and other sources.

Scott Hiller has been a resident of Colorado Springs City Council District 3 since 2020. He has been a vocal opponent of a proposed apartment complex near Old Colorado City.

He grew up in Houston, Texas which he says gave him a lived experience as to the importance of smart growth and proper zoning rules. Hiller has a bachelor’s degree in geophysics from St. Louis University and attended graduate school for geological oceanography at Texas A&M. 

Professionally, he serves as chief of geosciences for a national, coastal engineering firm and is on the board of his neighborhood homeowners association. His work has included leading marine emergency survey teams deployed by the Army Corps of Engineers after hurricanes Dolly, Edouard, Gustav and Ike. He also assisted with the cleanup of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Hiller also has experience related to the renewable energy industry.

Hiller's website does not list any official endorsements.

The candidate elected to the City Council District 3 will serve for two years. The seat is unexpired as current councilor Stephannie Fortune has chosen to step down for health reasons. 
District 3 covers southwest Colorado Springs and part of downtown. Fortune was a controversial appointment to the seat in early 2022, after longtime councilman Richard Skorman stepped down.

Role and vision

What is your elevator pitch for why voters in Colorado Springs should choose you as the next District 3 council representative?

I am a scientist. I look at the world around me and approach challenges from that perspective. As a Chief of Geosciences and a geophysicist, I regularly use evidence and data to make consequential decisions that affect public safety as well as billions of dollars of infrastructure. Looking at what obstacles we in Colorado Springs are likely to face in the future, whether it is wildfires or water allocation issues, a data-based scientific approach is something I will bring to the table and something I see lacking in our current council.

What do you see as the role and/or function of city government?

The role of the Government, whether city or otherwise is primarily public safety. Nothing else can really happen unless that is managed.

What is the number one challenge facing the next mayor of Colorado Springs, and how would you address it?

A potential main challenge for the next City Council will be the responsible and sustainable allocation of water.

What is your vision for Colorado Springs in the next 25 years, and what realistic policies do you propose to get us there?

In the future, I see the residents of Colorado Springs continuing to thrive. I want to see their property values go up even higher. I hope to see the continuation and growth of the already robust arts and music culture here. I also want every citizen, the ones both in my district and throughout all of Colorado Springs, to feel safe and welcome.

Law enforcement / Public Safety

What is the most pressing public safety issue facing the city and how would you address it?

Candidate did not answer.

What is your response to the findings from the audit on how the Colorado Springs Police Department uses force? What, if any, changes need to be made to the way CSPD operates?

Candidate did not answer.

What do you think of the current relationship between the Colorado Springs Police Department and the public? Is it acceptable or should more be done, and if so, what?

Candidate did not answer.

What do you think of the Law Enforcement Transparency and Advisory Commission (LETAC)? What would you do differently with this commission or its purpose if given the chance?

Candidate did not answer.

Emergency officials are implementing new notification software and other measures in the case of a wildfire or other hazard, but some residents say that isn’t enough. How would you address their concerns?

Candidate did not answer.


How do you define sustainable and responsible growth, and is the city successful in growing responsibly and sustainably?

One of the top issues on the minds of the citizens of District 3 is the seemingly out-of-control development springing up around. Many feel that their quality of life and safety is being jeopardized. I agree. The city should not allow unbridled growth, the overcrowding of residential neighborhoods, nor create irrational zoning types in the name of “affordable housing” or "growth". These actions only reinforce high prices during economic boom times and ensure an environment of overbuilt and vacant buildings during recessions. They can also lead to over-densification in areas with already questionable fire evacuation plans, such as District 3.

What different approach would you take, if any, to help address housing affordability?

Candidate did not answer.

Infill is identified in the PlanCOS master plan as a key strategy for the city moving forward, and yet, council is currently debating annexations. How do you define infill and how do you balance it with annexations?

Candidate did not answer.

What do you think of the recent water service extension ordinance passed by council and signed by the mayor aimed at limiting annexations based on water supply? What would you have done differently?

Candidate did not answer.

How do you balance maintaining the character of Colorado Springs with the need for development? What is the character of Colorado Springs?

Candidate did not answer.

Transportation / Infrastructure

What is the most important infrastructure project needed in Colorado Springs right now, and how would you address it?

Candidate did not answer.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently available in Colorado Springs? What plans, if any, do you have to increase options for reliable public transportation?

Candidate did not answer.

What are your thoughts about expanding the use of active transportation like bicycles or walking? Should it be a primary focus and if so, what should be done?

Candidate did not answer.

Parks & Open Space, Economy & Other

General Palmer's original vision for the city of Colorado Springs was that of a planned community, built around its natural beauty and environment. Do you agree with that vision, and if so, how do you plan to stay true to it?

General Palmer’s original vision for the city is a very large part of why our city is currently so livable. I agree very much with the idea that the community can embrace its natural setting in a way that benefits residents and visitors. One of the best ways we can stay true to the vision is to grow and maintain our parks and open spaces. This includes maintaining and expanding our interconnecting trails. By making it easier to travel between parks and open spaces through walking, biking, etc. we improve the depth of transportation choices and honor the natural settings within the city, and on the horizons.

What do you see as the current state of economic diversity, and where does the city have the opportunity to grow?

Candidate did not answer.

What is the most pressing issue of your district and how would you address it and advocate dealing with it?

The ability to safely evacuate during a wildfire event seems to be at the top of the minds of many people in D3. We expect that fire will be part of life on the Front Range but to live here safely we must implement a comprehensive fire evacuation plan. I will work toward ensuring transparency for evacuation times and maps to the public. Residents must know where to go and the city must have a plan to facilitate the evacuation quickly. Residents should be able to learn their evacuation plans and maps and the city should have publically available estimates on evacuation times.

How do you balance the needs of your district with the city as a whole?

Candidate did not answer.

What is your favorite part of living in District 3?

Candidate did not answer.

Is the city’s evacuation planning adequate to meet the specific needs of your district? If not, what should be done?

The evacuation planning is not adequate to meet the needs of District 3. The next large wildfire in our area will very possibly occur in our district and it is important that the plan tell residents when to leave and where to go. The current phone app does not provide guidance for travel other than that you should leave. Unorganized decisions on where to drive by our thousands of residents could cost us precious time in the evacuation. Once a comprehensive fire evacuation is in place, future developments should be required to provide a fire evacuation assessment like we require traffic studies and geologic hazard studies.

Is the city doing enough to address the issue of people experiencing homelessness? What, if anything, would you do differently?

At any given point in time, we have about 1500 people experiencing homelessness in Colorado Springs, of which approximately 400 are chronically homeless individuals living outside of shelters. We should be able to address this issue. We can protect our vibrant neighborhoods with more strict enforcement and policing of trespassing, illegal camping, public urination/defecation, hard drug offenses, and public storage laws. The HOT (Homeless Outreach Team) team needs more resources and needs to quadruple in size so that there can be a dedicated team per Police Sector, instead of just one for the whole city. We can, at the same time, protect our homeless neighbors by maintaining shelters and robust services. We should also study and use data and best practices looking nationally and globally for solutions as well as our own creative ideas. District 3 citizens’ input is of vital importance on how to address this challenging, tragic issue.

What is your stance on if and when to ask voters to retain funds that exceed the cap imposed by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR)?

I strongly support TABOR and the money should always go back to the people unless they specifically vote to use their refunds differently. The city should never spend the taxpayers’ refunds without their explicit permission. I don’t see anything wrong with asking as long as it’s well-understood that the voters can tell us “no.”

Who are your top three campaign donors?

Candidate did not answer.

Quick responses

Would you support city councilors receiving a living wage or salary as opposed to the annual stipend of $6,250?


Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs?


Would you support creating an independent board for Colorado Springs Utilities, rather than having council serve as the board?


Do you support Front Range Rail?

Candidate did not answer.

Do you support extending Constitution Avenue?

Candidate did not answer.

Is the city adequately addressing climate change and adaptation?


Do you support the ballot measure that extends the TOPS sales tax?