July 19, 2018

Jacob's Golden Update: Sales and Use Tax Update

Jacob’s Golden Update: July 13, 2009

1. Some Tough Choices Ahead: Sales and Use Tax Update
2. Courts Reject Councilor Weaver’s Lawsuit Against Golden (Again)
3. The New Beltway Proposal: Still a Really Bad Deal
4. Golden Vision 2030 Block Parties Coming Up:  Heritage Road West, Heritage Road East, and Golden Hills/Golden Heights Neighborhoods
5. Golden’s Community Garden Cuts Ribbon and Makes the Denver Post
6. The Junior Arch
7. Emergency Road Repair At Heritage Road and Colfax Under Way
8. Meet Our New State Representative (Representative Max Tyler)
9. Leadership Golden Applications Due 8/1/09
10. The Colorado Municipal League Conference
11. Blog Roundup
12. Other Upcoming Events
13. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, July 16

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[Read more…]

Jacob’s Golden Update: Sales and Use Tax Update

Jacob’s Golden Update: July 13, 2009

1. Some Tough Choices Ahead: Sales and Use Tax Update
2. Courts Reject Councilor Weaver’s Lawsuit Against Golden (Again)
3. The New Beltway Proposal: Still a Really Bad Deal
4. Golden Vision 2030 Block Parties Coming Up:  Heritage Road West, Heritage Road East, and Golden Hills/Golden Heights Neighborhoods
5. Golden’s Community Garden Cuts Ribbon and Makes the Denver Post
6. The Junior Arch
7. Emergency Road Repair At Heritage Road and Colfax Under Way
8. Meet Our New State Representative (Representative Max Tyler)
9. Leadership Golden Applications Due 8/1/09
10. The Colorado Municipal League Conference
11. Blog Roundup
12. Other Upcoming Events
13. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, July 16

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[Read more…]

A Report on the Colorado Municipal League Conference

Several weeks ago I joined two of my colleagues on the City Council (Marjorie Sloan and Karen Oxman) at annual Colorado Municipal League conference.  These conferences provide a really important opportunity for city councilors to learn more about how to do their jobs well, share and learn from other city councilors facing similar challenges, and build relationships with city councilors from around the Denver Metro region and the rest of the state.

The conferences are usually enjoyable but a lot of work as well.  Some of the highlights for me included: a statewide meeting of mayors to discuss municipal budget management and budget planning, the impact of foreclosures, and the implications of the most recent legislative session on local communities; a session looking at various ways of effectively engaging our communities in important community decision-making; a session on effectively engaging youth in our community to be involved in city government (organized by the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families); a keynote address by Governor Ritter; and a bunch of discussions with other city councilors about issues like ethics codes, campaign finance codes, engaging our community in budget decisions, and transportation issues.

We typically send several city councilors to each of the three main conferences each year: this one in Colorado, a National League of Cities conference in Washington, D.C. focusing on federal issues, and one other National League of Cities conference held in a different location each year.  We’ve cut back this year to keep our costs low, but for Golden’s taxpayers it is a really important investment and worth continuing even if at a low level.  Our city councilors are all just community residents, not professional city managers, and I believe we really want all of our city councilors to have good opportunities to continue learning the skills necessary to effectively lead the city.  In a June 20 editorial, the Denver Post criticized cities that treat these trips as junkets but also recognized how important these conferences are if they are treated appropriately (as we do).

It’s worth noting that the vast majority of city councilors who attend the Colorado Municipal League conference have day jobs in addition to the duties as elected representatives.  That’s true for the Golden City Council as well.  It’s important, though, which I think is why everyone is willing to do it at least once in a while.

Since I’ve been the mayor, everyone on the City Council has attended at least one conference.  After every conference I ask all of our City Councilors to prepare a short report – like this – outlining what they did (and I believe all but one have done so).  For this most recent conference, both Marjorie Sloan and Karen Oxman (the other two who attended) did so.  I also asked the city manager to prepare one as well since he attended also.  Please let me or any of the others know if you have any questions.

Colorado Municipal League Report From City Manager Mike Bestor

City Manager Mike Bestor’s report on the Colorado Municipal League conference several weeks ago:

from    Mike Bestor <MBESTOR@cityofgolden.net>
to    City Council <citycouncil@cityofgolden.net>
date    Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Council,

Thank you for allowing me to attend the CML Annual meeting. It was very productive and I wish more of you could have attended. It is so important that we interact with our peers and find out what other cities are doing especially in these difficult economic times.

I spoke with many of my peers about their strategies for coping with declining revenues. Bob O’Neil, the CEO of the International City / County Managers Association presented the attached paper which was commissioned by ICMA with two Arizona State University professors who have done a lot of cutting edge work for my profession. This paper analyzes what has worked in prior bad times for local governments. Our past positioning and current strategies are very much in line with  the recommendations presented but your management team will have several in-depth discussions to follow up on Bob’s presentation. I hope you will be able to read this report before your July 16 Study Session budget discussion.

I also attended a notable presentation on Emergency Preparedness where I learned more about the state’s capabilities from the new Director and heard of several ideas worth copying form other jurisdictions. This was very timely as we are currently updating our emergency response plans.

The presentation on Public Sector Credit was very timely with our current plans to refinance a portion of our debt. Our recent credit rating upgrade will prove very beneficial.

The City of Steamboat Springs cut all employees pay (except police and fire)  10% at the first of the year. They are now working  9 hour days Monday thru Thursday and closing city offices on Fridays. (That’s an acceptable strategy for a short term cyclical problem but not sustainable for a long structural problem in our competitive labor market.)

Mayor Smith and I were also able to have great discussion over breakfast on Friday. The closing presenters (The O’Shea report) would be great to bring in for our next Boards and Commissions Appreciation dinner – if we can ever afford to do that again.

All in all the week was a very good use of my time  and I hope more of you can attend next year.

Colorado Municipal League Report From Karen Oxman

Councilor Karen Oxman’s report on the Colorado Municipal League conference last month:

From: Karen Oxman

Sent: Sunday, June 21, 2009 9:31 AM

I am ½ way through my 6th year on Golden City Council, and just returned from my 6th CML Annual Conference.  I must credit CML for providing education and resources for Elected Officials and City Staff that help us all to do a better job for our communities.  For a newly elected official, there is no better resource than CML’s staff and publications on a variety of topics, including ‘The Elected Officials Starter Kit’ or ‘The State of our Cities and Towns’.  CML is the advocacy, information, and training center for our Colorado communities!  For more information, take a look at the newly designed web site.

As part of the responsibilities of a City Councilor, we serve on Local, County, and State committees, task forces, and organizations.  I have represented Golden on the CML Policy Committee, as Vice President of the Colorado Women in Government, and, this past year, I served as Chair of the Annual CML Conference Committee, which plans out the conference, with input from surveys and past evaluations.  This year we went ‘green’………less paper, everything put on-line.  The hotels were ‘green’ as well………water was in pitchers and served with glasses, recycling bins were strategically placed.  I heard no complaints, but we will see what the on-line evaluation shows us……..and that will help us to plan for 2010’s conference.

So, what did I learn from my 3 days?  Here are some bullet points!

*play with facts, rather than fantasy or fiction

*move into the 21st century with ‘social media’ development

*use Wikipedia

*the majority of Colorado’s roads are unpaved

*collaboration is the key to success

*transportation, education, and health care are the keys to successful communities, and are the toughest to fund, especially in a down economy..(this was not a revelation to me!)

*Loveland has a ‘street fee’ for the maintenance of their city streets

*25c of every dollar spent on a Lottery ticket goes back to communities for open space and park and recreation projects  (I need to start buying!)

*in connecting people, ideas, and community, it is about THEM, not about YOU!

*GOCO has special grants for projects……acquisition of new recreation sites, skate parks, new construction, (like bandshells??) and capital improvements of recreational areas, ie ADA improvements.

In addition to some official duties at the Conference, I attended two lunches with an educational speaker, and one breakfast with an educational component, as well as 10 of the sessions.  Do I think it was ‘time well spent’?  Absolutely!  Although the economy is tough, and the going is rough, over 500 elected officials made the effort to learn and network, and look outside their own little ‘box’ for new ideas and innovative directions.  The benefit to the community was well worth the effort to send a few folks up the hill for some learning!

Colorado Municipal League Report From Marjorie Sloan

Councilor Marjorie Sloan’s report on the Colorado Municipal League conference last month:

From: marjorie_sloan@comcast.net

Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 8:45 AM

I’d like to thank the residents of Golden for the opportunity to attend the Colorado Municipal League (CML) conference last week (June 16-20, 2009). One advantage of the way Golden elections are conducted is that councilors are all well-intentioned amateurs. One disadvantage is that we are all well-intentioned amateurs.

For me, the CML conference helped fill the gap between my intentions and my ability to get things done. The conference is an intensive learning experience. For instance, I attended sessions providing information on utility management, staff-council relations, liquor-licensing issues, First-Amendment rights, communication with residents, the new media, and land-use concepts. Even at meals, attendees heard informative (and sometimes entertaining) talks by Governor Ritter, a political commentator, CML officers and board members, and the young winners of the “If I were Mayor” contest.

And when we weren’t in a purely listening mode, we were sharing experiences and forging relationships with leaders of other municipalities. These contacts should serve Golden well in the future. In particular, personal connections can lead to valuable allies in our resistance to the beltway boondoggle.

My attending the CML conference will make a difference in my contributions to the local decision-making process. I appreciate Golden’s investment in my tuition for “council school.” I welcome e-mails (msloan@cityofgolden.net) and phone calls (303-279-0088) if anyone wishes to talk about the conference or anything else affecting Golden’s residents.

Colorado Municipal League Annual Meeting and Conference

I took three days off of work and headed up to Breckenridge for the annual meeting and conference of the Colorado Municipal League. If you don’t know, CML provides resources to local communities like ours and advocates for the interests of local governments at the state legislature and elsewhere. I find the annual meetings valuable (I went last year and now this year) in part because of the speakers and panels. I am very interested in learning and improving on the skills required to be effective as an elected representative and CML is a good opportunity to do that.

The issues covered in sessions I attended sessions included:

• ethics and ethics standards for elected representatives.
• open meeting laws and rules
• economic development in small towns
• quasi-judicial processes
• municipal budgeting and financial management
• climate change and municipal climate change action plans

I already wrote a bit about the climate change panel, and I wrote a bit about the Ethics in Government Initiative, one of the subjects discussed during the panel on ethics.

One of the lunch speakers was Jim Hunt, a City Councilor from Clarksburg, West Virginia and the president of the National League of Cities (the national version of the Colorado Municipal League). He focused on building inclusive communities, and speaks from the experience of serving a community with a long history of deep racial divisions. He is encouraging local communities to commit to becoming more inclusive, with a particular focus on two themes:

  • Promoting equal opportunity and fairness.
  • Promoting citizen participation and engagement.

The City Councils in Brighton, Lafayette, and Lakewood at least one other city – I think Lakewood but don’t remember for sure – have all adopted resolutions commiting to improving the inclusiveness of their communities. I strongly support these goals and look forward to exploring ways we can forward both of them.

The other reason I attend CML is for the opportunity to continue building relationships with elected representatives from other communities across Colorado, especially our neighbors in the Denver Metro area. As I’ve written and said many times before, some of our most important challenges in Golden are regional challenges, and we can’t hope to succeed without good relationships with other communities in the region. We have almost no chance of improving Golden’s air quality unless we work closely with the neighboring communities where so much of the air pollution is generated. The same is true if we hope to continue improving on the region’s transit system. Of course the fight over the superhighway fits into the same category: to defeat the proposed Billion Dollar Boondoggle and instead make real improvements that actually benefit Golden and the region we have to work closely with our neighbors across the region.

CML and Climate Change

Today was the second day of the Colorado Municipal League’s annual meeting and conference. One of the interesting panels I attended today focused on municipal climate change action plans. The coolest thing about it (pun intended) is the extent to which reducing our contribution to global climate change overlaps with long-term cost savings on energy. Given the likelihood of increasing energy costs across the foreseeable future, these kinds of steps seem worthwhile for fiscal reasons alone.

CNN today ran a story reported on the new National Academy of Scientists climate change study, requested by Congress, which concluded that “recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia.”

On a side note, although I’m having lots of conversations about tolling and Tom Norton’s misguided transportation policy obsessions, lots of folks have also wanted to talk about the supertowers. Most folks are suspicious of what they’ve heard from Lake Cedar Group, and when I take a few minutes to explain the controversy most express their support.