350 attend luncheon to honor Mayor Ron Rakowsky for his years of public service
BY DORIS TRUHLAR The Centennial City Council has been working on the 2020 budget for several weeks and is exp...
Terry Considine, former Colorado Senator and Aimco CEO, was honored at the Adam...
The ACC Foundation invites you to come sip and savor at our 10th Anniversary Bash Fundraiser(21+Event)!...
Littleton Public Schools received a $298,034 grant from the Arapahoe County Open Spaces for a new playground f...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Nine of the ten candidates for open seats on the Littleton City Council c...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER On October 2, the city council of Cherry Hills Village approved a balance...
South Suburban Parks and Recreation, Arapahoe County Open Spaces and the City of Littleton celebrated the impr...
BY ANNA C. DOLAN David Busse knows the name of every student who rides his bus. “Hi, Cameron! How are you toda...
BY DORIS TRUHLAR
The Centennial City Council has been working on the 2020 budget for several weeks and is expected to give final approval of a $102,400,000 plan for all spending next year.
At a Monday night meeting, highlights included improving safety in the city with the completion of more than 6,000 feet of new sidewalks along city streets, as well as park improvements on the Centennial Center Park adjacent to Centennial City Hall at 13133 East Arapahoe Road.
The budget is proposed by City Manager Matt Sturgeon. The 2020 proposed budget reflects an increase of 17.4 percent, which is $15.2 million, compared to the adopted budget for 2019. Highlights of proposals for next year include the following:
Street-related projects totaling $14.1 million, with the funds being moved to a newly-created street fund.
Building of the Lone Creek Trail at a cost of $3,560,000.
Funding of the Center Park Master Plan, which entails design and infrastructure construction of $2,220,000.
Hiring of a Cyber Security Engineer, at a cost of $162,000 for salary and benefits.
Adding a Junior Database Administrator to the Office of Technology and Innovation at a cost for salary and benefits of $108,000.
Pursuant to the contract that Centennial has with the Office of the Arapahoe County Sherriff, creation of a new Human Resources (“HR”) Business Partner, a civilian position. The Business Partner will be responsible for many HR functions, at a cost of $112,980.
A Neighborhood Services position including a full-time employee, for a total of $235,560, with $125,560 in personnel costs, $40,000 in professional services, and $70,000 for a neighborhood grant program. This is a somewhat controversial program, with a vote of 6-3 in favor. Sturgeon told the council that the city needs an employee who will “reach out” to the city’s neighborhoods. The hope is that the program will provide a greater sense of community. It might include neighborhood clean-up projects and recycling programs, fence maintenance and enhanced landscaping.
Two new code compliance officers are likely to be added to city staff, with one assigned to the eastern side of the city and the other to the western side.
In a report to the council Monday night, Jim Albee, one of the citizen members of the Centennial Budget Committee, stated that the 2020 proposed budget “indicates the city is well positioned financially” and that the budget will allow the city to provide services “desired by the citizens.”
Albee said the city’s budget allows it “to maintain high levels of service in key areas such as public safety and public works.”
Sturgeon told the council that future needs will include charging stations for electric cars.
Terry Considine, former Colorado Senator and Aimco CEO, was honored at the Adam Smith Award Dinner on October 10 for his commitment to economic education in Colorado schools. The event took place at the Seawell Ballroom with 265 friends attending.
Considine is a life-long entrepreneur and businessman, who, in addition to his two terms as senator, has served as Chairman/CEO of five public companies, including Aimco and the Considine Companies. He is also one of the co-founders of Club for Growth, anorganization committed to advancing economic growth and limited government.
Considine gave a moving acceptance speech on the generational impact of economic literacy, and the legacy of Adam Smith. He emphasized how free markets guarantee free people – with freedom to work, speak, live and worship as they choose.
Economic Literacy Colorado, an educational nonprofit providing economic and financial literacy to teachers and students, hosted the Adam Smith Award Dinner.
“It was a privilege to honor Terry for his contributions to our community and free enterprise system,” said Debbie Pierce, president and CEO of EconLitCo. “Thanks to Terry and our generous sponsors, ELC’s classes and programs will continue to provide important life skills – economic and financial – to teachers and students across the state.”
The Dinner was sponsored by Lanny and Sharon Martin, along with Marcy and Bruce Benson, Terry Considine Family, Brian and Caryn Deevy, Meg and Jamie Duke, Buz and Sherri Koelbel, Mike and Gloria Komppa, Sturm Family/ANB Bank, Daniels Fund, El Pomar Foundation, and many others.
The ACC Foundation invites you to come sip and savor at our 10th Anniversary Bash Fundraiser(21+Event)! Business casual attire on Thursday, November 7, 2019 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm at
Mike Ward Maserati of Denver, 1850 Lucent Court, Highlands Ranch.
Sample wines provided by LIDO Wine Merchants, tastings from craft breweries and distilleries like Rocker Spirits and Breckenridge Brewery, and delicious food provided by local restaurants including Torchy’s Tacos, Zoes’s Kitchen and Adelitas !
Nothing Bundt Cakes, Harley’s Hot Dogs and Uncorked Kitchen will be back with food samples and a demo station!
Valet parking by Jays Valet. Also, Arapahoe Community College and Lyft have partnered to get you a responsible ride! Use code GH2G19 and ride to and from Grapes and Hops to Grads with Lyft!
We will host a Silent Auction Fundraiser benefitting ACC Scholarships for students! www.arapahoe.edu/foundation events to buy tickets and check out the amazing auction items this year!
All proceeds from this event will support the mission of the ACC Foundation to create public awareness and secure funding resources that provide financial assistance and broad-based community support for ACC’s students and programs.
Question? Please contact Robin Loughran – ACCF Event Manager, 720-985-8580 or Robin.firstname.lastname@example.org
Littleton Public Schools received a $298,034 grant from the Arapahoe County Open Spaces for a new playground for the Options schools during the Board of Education meeting September 26, 2019. In addition to a completely new playground, there will be fitness stations, a large chessboard, outdoor picnic areas with shade covering, basketball and tetherball courts, and resurfacing of the play areas and asphalt. There will also be two play areas – one for 5-12 year-olds and another area geared for high school students.
“We are so excited! The process takes about a year and a half to plan and execute, and the installation of the playground to begin this fall,” said Robyn Zagoren, LPS District Wellness Coordinator. “I would like to thank the partnership we have with the City of Littleton, as they are giving us $50,000 as part of the cash match needed for the grant.” The playground will be open to the community before and after school, weekends and holidays.
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
Nine of the ten candidates for open seats on the Littleton City Council came to a non-traditional forum organized by the League of Women Voters at the Littleton-Bemis Public Library on October 10 to answer voters’ questions. Residents sat in chairs organized in circles and each candidate sat with them for seven minutes, responding to voters’ questions.
Four of the seven seats on the Littleton City Council will be filled in the November 5 election. Ballots started arriving in the mail on October 12. One council member will be elected from district 2, one from district 4, and two from the city at-large. All will be for four-year terms, except one of the at-large seats. The winner who receives the fewer number of votes will be elected to a two-year term. Citizens can watch a two-minute You Tube video of each of the candidates on the city’s website at www.littletongov.org/city-services/city-departments/city-clerk/election-information/2019-general-election/2019-candidates.
Three candidates are running in district 2. They are Kathleen (Kate) Eckel, Jane Ozga, and Jerry Valdez. Each came to talk to the voters.
Kate Eckel tells voters she is “pro-fiscal responsibility and pro-thoughtful development.” An eight-year veteran of the Littleton Fine Arts Board, Eckel has been chair for the last two years. She holds a masters’ degree and works in human relations. Eckel would like to see adequate housing in the city for “individuals who are just venturing out into the world and want to call Littleton home,” as well as senior citizens. She would reach out to foster positive relationships with good developers and would encourage design guidelines for landscaping and developers’ contributing to the city as part of the approval process. Eckel would like to see residents “back out on their front porch” getting to know one another.
Jane Ozga is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran who also worked in Antartica for the U.S. Navy. She would like to see city employees live in Littleton and get diversity and sensitivity training. Ozga wants young families to move to Littleton, but she doesn’t think there are enough jobs. She would like to see an advocate for military veterans. On development, Ozga says, “Let’s not knock down houses to put in high-rise apartments.”
Valdez is the incumbent and is seeking his third four-year term, having served since 2011. A 35-year resident, he was a director of property operations for a large corporation before his recent retirement and is a part-time member of the statistics crew for Broncos home games. Valdez has served on the Arapahoe County Citizens Advisory Budget Committee and multiple other public commissions. He cited as an accomplishment that he got crosswalk indicators on Littleton Boulevard, which enhances pedestrian safety. Asked if he would support a sales tax increase to fund capital projects, Valdez said, “Not until we analyze (our needs) through priority-based budgeting.” On the subject of homelessness, he said that Littleton should work with others in the area to address the problem.
District four is being contested by Kelly Milliman and Iftin Abshir. Milliman did not attend the forum.
Iftin Abshir is a third-generation Littleton resident, who describes her vision as “a city that is thriving, both with economic and social vitality…with programs that “encourage our youth, assist our seniors, and honor our veterans…” She thinks the Columbine Square Shopping Center “should be redeveloped where infrastructure exists,” and that the “right mix of retail to support residential” would work for the Ensor property. Abshir says that the city should support preserving view corridors and the tree canopy. She would like to see more natural design elements.
The five candidates for the two at-large seats are Pam Grove, Bill Schwanitz, Jessica Mendes Ford, Scott Melin, and incumbent Kyle Schlachter. All five came to meet the voters at the forum at the library.
Grove is a 32-year resident and retired marketer and college instructor “who wants to maintain the integrity of our neighborhoods and our historical assets, while fostering our community spirit.” She believes in careful development where residents’ needs trump those of business. She is concerned that “starter homes aren’t lucrative to large developers,” and would make sure any proposed development fits into the neighborhood in size and density. She will focus on the city’s comprehensive plan and its zoning code to maintain Littleton’s community character while balancing it with having housing that people can afford.
Schwanitz is a software developer who has “become concerned about the number of historic houses and buildings being demolished in our city.” He saved an old farmhouse, remodeled it, and now lives there with his family. Schwanitz is concerned about the lack of citizen input at the city council and would change the time allowed for residents to speak on issues from the current three minutes to five minutes so that people’s voices can be heard. He would like to see affordable housing in Littleton for working people and preserve the neighborhood character, while making sure there is a place for young people and for seniors.
Mendes Ford, who holds a masters degree in instruction and is a “guest teacher” at Littleton Public Schools, says her family moved to Littleton three years ago “for the great schools and the suburban feel of this small city.” She serves on her homeowners’ association board as communications director, managing its social media and publishing its quarterly newsletter. She says Littleton needs more affordable housing to get more people to live here and that it needs to be in the proper location. She would like to see a transportation study to see if traffic can be re-routed from where it is presently congested. Mendes Ford likes the feel of downtown’s Main Street.
Scott Melin is running for city council “to ensure that Littleton has a thriving future for people and families of all ages.” On housing, Melin said that the city “can encourage affordable housing and have influence by its zoning code.” On seniors who want to downsize, he says “The city studied the question. We need it. South Broadway may be a good location, but we need to address transportation issues.” On higher density housing, Melin answered “I’m for balance. There are places in the city that might be appropriate for increased density, possibly for seniors, to make it affordable.”
Schlachter views the Next Gen Advisory Committee as a major accomplishment in his first two years on city council because it is a way to get “input from young people who are hard to reach.” Asked about his position on the short-term rental ordinance, which failed to win a majority at city council, Schlachter said, “Why can’t people own five short term rental properties? We need to do something.” To get affordable housing in the city, Schlacter said, “We need to allow additional dwelling units.”
On October 2, the city council of Cherry Hills Village approved a balanced budget for 2020 of revenues and expenditures totaling $7.4 million each, including the paydown on the certificates of participation issued for the new city hall that was completed this year and the relocation of the public works department to Sheridan in 2018. The budget includes 46.5 full-time employees, including police officers, unchanged from 2019.
The estimated revenue for the current year of 2019 is also $7.4 million, however estimated expenditures for the current year are $6.8 million. The operating gain of $600,000 is being added to CHV’s general fund balance, which is projected to be $8.9 million at the end of 2019 and also at the end of 2020 due to the balanced budget.
The city’s mill levy remains at 7.30 mills. Property taxes, collected by Arapahoe County, are CHV’s largest single revenue source, at 36 percent of total revenues, followed by sales tax and use tax on the sales and lease of licensed motor vehicles, which each provide 14 percent of CHV’s revenue.
Public Safety, consisting of 24 sworn police officers and necessary administrative support, absorbs 45 percent of the city’s budget, followed by administration at 23 percent and public works at 14 percent.
The city keeps its share-back revenue from the 0.25 percent county sales tax designated for the acquisition and maintenance of open space separately in its Arapahoe County Open Space Fund 14. That fund will start 2020 with $1 million and end it with $510,000 after spending $300,000 on the Hampden underpass trail/bridge project (along with $225,000 provided by a grant from Arapahoe County) and $314,000 at John Meade Park.
South Suburban Parks and Recreation, Arapahoe County Open Spaces and the City of Littleton celebrated the improvements at Progress Park in Littleton Sept. 30. The 60-year-old park features brand new amenities, including a nature-themed playground with separate areas for children ages 2-5; and children ages 5-12; an enlarged pavilion, available for rent; a new restroom and trails that connect to the regional Big Dry Creek Trail.
The park is located just east of Cornerstone Park and south of Belleview Avenue.
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