BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER The Centennial City Council is considering updates to the city’s fisc...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Vaping was again a topic of discussion at a Centennial City Council m...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Centennial has been recognized as not only the safest city in Colorad...
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER A Centennial woman told the City Council Monday night that a drone in he...
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Vaping and e-cigarette use was the topic of an extensive discussion by t...
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER The Centennial City Council held a public hearing on an ordinance that w...
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER The price of concrete is going up, according to Centennial City Manager...
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Noise by vehicles was discussed by the Centennial Council at its Monday...
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER A 14-day limitation on on-street parking was adopted recently by the Cen...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
The Centennial City Council is considering updates to the city’s fiscal policies.
At its meeting Monday night, the council heard a report by Doug Farmen, Finance Director, in regard to the city’s financial policies. The issue of updating fiscal policies will on the agenda for the council meeting on December 16.
The Centennial Budget Commmittee met four times in 2019, discussing the revenue, expenditure, budget, debt, fund balances, reserve, and capital improvement program policies.
The adopted budget of the city contains an estimate of anticipated revenue from all sources for the coming year, as well as estimates of the expenditures necessary for the operation of city departments.
Department directors have a responsibility to monitor their department’s budget on a regular basis.
Vaping was again a topic of discussion at a Centennial City Council meeting on Monday night, with one vaping shop owner recommending to the council that the city increase the age for purchasing vaping products be raised to 21.
A married couple who own a vaping shop at 5210 East Arapahoe Road in Centennial, spoke to the council about a possible flavor ban for vaping products. Sarah Walter and Shaune Walter, owner of the store, told the council that vaping flavored products has helped many people to get off of tobacco products.
Ron Castagna, of 5403 S. Idalia Way, told the council that there was a time a few years ago when it appeared that the smoking issue was being addressed. Now, however, vaping has “set things back,” he said.
In an interview, Cigarettes are “very carefully engineered” to produce addiction, Castagna said. He added that there are many children today who are addicted to vaping.
Centennial has been recognized as not only the safest city in Colorado, but also the 43rd safest in the entire United States by 24/7 Wall Street. No other Colorado cities made the list.
The 50 safest U.S. cities were identified by violent crime rates in cities with at least 100,000 people from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 2018 Uniform Crime Report. Centennial has approximately 120,000 to 125,000 residents.
The total number and the rates of murder, rape, manslaughter, robbery, and aggravated assault, which are included in the violent crime rate, as well as burglaries, larceny, and motor vehicle theft (property crimes), also came from an FBI report.
According to 24/7 Wall Street, there were only 181 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Centennial. Non-violent crimes such as motor vehicle theft and burglary are also not especially common in Centennial. There were 1,754 property crimes for every 100,000 people in 2018, well below the national property crime rate of 2,200 crimes per 100,000 residents.
“Being a safe community has remained a priority for Centennial since it was incorporated in 2000-01,” said Councilwoman Candace Moon. “The City is especially appreciative of the continued partnership it has with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. We thank the men and women of that office who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep our city safe.”
Wealthier cities tend to be relatively safe and Centennial is one of the wealthiest in the nation. More than one-half of all Centennial households have incomes of more than $100,000 a year, well above the median household income of $57,652 nationwide.
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
A Centennial woman told the City Council Monday night that a drone in her neighborhood has caused her to feel “violated” and that the drone has invaded her privacy, resulting in a “horrendous experience.” She urged the council to do something about the drone.
Jane Worthing, of 6675 S. Williams Street, in District 1 of Centennial, described her neighborhood as being “nice” and “quiet.” She said the drone, “flew in a circle” over her and followed her to a park.
Additionally, Worthing said the drone had come to an area outside her bathroom when she was getting ready to go to bed. She asked the council to help her find a solution to the situation. Worthing said she has talked with neighbors about the situation, and that she represented not only herself, but ten other neighbors in the immediate area near her home.
Worthing said that the person flies the drone above 400 feet, which she said violates Federal Aviation Authority rules. “It’s disturbing,” she told the council. She added that she does not feel “comfortable” walking her dog in her own neighborhood.
City Attorney Robert Widner said the council could have a study session to discuss Worthing’s concerns, and determine whether there is something that can be done about it.
Worthing said the individual flying the drone is a man in the neighborhood who does not have a “regular job” and who lives with some of his relatives.
It appeared likely the council will have a study session in regard to the issue.
Vaping and e-cigarette use was the topic of an extensive discussion by the Centennial City Council at its regular meeting Monday night. The council approved several measures to help curb the use of vaping and electronic cigarettes.
The measures will likely come back to the council at a future meeting, perhaps before the end of the year or early in 2020. Two residents, Bob Doyle and Tracy Doyle, appeared to be instrumental in the council’s consideration of the issue and spoke to the council about it. The council appeared to be extremely receptive to adopting a series of restrictions related to electronic cigarettes and vaping.
The Doyles reside at 16166 E. Progress Place in Centennial. Tracy Doyle is a Technical Assistance Coordinator at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. The Doyles asked the council to take steps to “shut off” use of electronic cigarettes. They told the council there is a vaping shop close to Smoky Hill High School.
Tracy Doyle said the issue is “very important.” She urged the council to serve as “a leader” in placing restrictions on electronic cigarettes and vaping. The Doyles had a handout which stated that “nationwide data” shows that “almost 70 percent of high school e-cigarette users are using a flavored e-cigarette and half are using a menthol or mint flavored” product.
Their handout also stated that “[n]ational data shows a dramatic increase in middle school and high school e-cigarette use and Colorado has the highest high school e-cigarette use rate in the country at 26%.”
Among the restrictions that they urged the council to consider are raising the minimum age for sales of tobacco products to age 21, from age 18, and banning the sale of flavored tobacco. They urged the council to be a “leader” in restricting vaping and the use of e-cigarettes. They also said the city should not wait for the state to take action but should lead the way in adopting restrictions on vaping.
It appeared that the council is extremely receptive to adopting at least some, if not all, of the restrictions suggested by the Doyles.
The Centennial City Council held a public hearing on an ordinance that will somewhat increase fines that may be assessed for traffic violations in the city. The increase is $25 per violation, with three-point violations resulting in a $100 fine, four-point violations going up to $125, and five-point tickets resulting in a $175 ticket.
Additionally, there will be a $200 fine for parking illegally in a parking space marked for handicapped parking.
Municipal Judge Ford Wheatley was among the city staff making the presentation to the council. He told the council that he has some discretion on the fines for traffic violations. There are approximately 8,000 traffic tickets issued per year, he told the council.
No one spoke against the fine increase. The presenters told the council that the increase in fines will put Centennial “in the middle of the road,” in terms of the fines levied by cities. The Centennial Municipal Court only hears cases resulting in a maximum of six points.
Councilwoman Carrie Penaloza commented to Judge Wheatley that it appears he uses his “discretion in a good way.”
In other business, the council heard a report by Wyatt
Peterson, a member of the city’s staff, about the installation of charging stations for electric cars. There are two stations, one at City Hall, 13133 E. Arapahoe Rd., and the other at the city’s facility at 7272 S. Eagle St. Each station can charge two vehicles at the same time.
In the future, the City Manager likely will have the authority to adjust the charging fees, in order to cover operational costs.
The price of concrete is going up, according to Centennial City Manager Matthew Sturgeon, who told the City Council on Monday night that it may be necessary for the city to budget more money for repairs on streets and sidewalks.
In his report to the council, the manager said that the council may want to increase the allotment for concrete from its current (2019) 466 cubic yards to a higher number “due to the age and integrity” of the concrete that is being replaced.
Councilman Ron Weidmann suggested that the city utilize the “overage this year in the budget . . . to address” the issue. Mayor Stephanie Piko responded that the topic made “good budget conversation for next week,” when the council is scheduled to have two meetings in regard to the 2020 budget for Centennial, on Monday and Tuesday evenings.
Sturgeon also said that there has been consideration in regard to “prioritizing” the use of concrete around schools and other areas where there is more pedestrian traffic.
The comments regarding concrete were made by Sturgeon during a study session prior to the regular council meeting.
There were no land use cases on the agenda for the meeting on Monday. A significant portion of the meeting was devoted to an issue related to parking in the city, which has been discussed on numerous occasions by the council during the past few years.
The council has adopted a limitation on parking that is completely complaint-based, which means that law enforcement, which in Centennial is the Office of the Arapahoe County Sheriff, will only investigate when a complaint is made.
Sheriff’s Deputy Glenn Thompson told the council that complaint-based laws are “difficult to enforce.” In response to a question from a council member, Thompson said that stolen vehicles often “create an issue.”
A number of citizens spoke about the ordinance concerning parking. John Shilling, of 7061 S. Quince Street, told the council he was “mostly okay with the ordinance,” but that he thought it was important for the word “continuously” to be in the ordinance, to describe the prohibited parking. It appears likely that the final version of the law will contain the word, to describe the 14 days of parking required for an infraction.
A number of residents from Walnut Hills Subdivision spoke in regard to the ordinance. Martha Shilling, wife of John, said that many residents are forced to park on the streets because there generally are only single-car garages in the subdivision.
Another Walnut Hills resident, Mike Rogers, of 5455 E. Dry Creek Circle, said he cannot get his “full-sized truck” in his garage. Ron Schmidt, of 5453 E. Dry Creek Circle, said that parking on the streets is generally not a problem, “except for a few people.” He added that “just because you can” do something, that “does not mean you have to do something.”
Schmidt said he has talked with the Arapahoe County Sheriff and believes, that Sheriff Tyler Brown does not want to deal with parking violations because there are more pressing law enforcement issues.
Pat Klingbeil, of 7241 S. Franklin, which is near Arapahoe High School, said she is 86 years old and has paid taxes for 34 years. She urged residents not to “be so darn picky,” adding that people can park in front of her house “any time.”
Mayor Stephanie Piko said the parking issue has been discussed for the past seven or eight years. Deputy City Attorney Maureen Juran said the word “continuously” could be added to the ordinance, which will be brought back to the council at a future meeting for further consideration.
Piko also said that the ordinance may be necessary because there are residents who are “selling cars from their homes” and using public streets as their “auto showroom.” The proposed law is intended to stop “abuses of the public right of way,” she said.
Councilwoman Candace Moon said the ordinance has to be “for the greater good of all” residents. There are times when some residents have abused the law, for example, residents who block snow removal with cars parked on the streets.
Councilwoman Carrie Penaloza, District 2, said that adding the word “continuously” was “a good idea.” When the ordinance is brought back to council at a future meeting, it should be passed, she stated.
The ordinance will be considered at a future meeting with the additional word added to it.
Noise by vehicles was discussed by the Centennial Council at its Monday meeting. No ordinance was proposed as part of the discussion.
Candace Moon, District 1 councilwoman, stated that she would not want law enforcement to enforce such a law, but she also believes that there should be an attempt to educate the public of the dangers of noise. Her proposal did not gain traction, and no ordinance was proposed.
Councilman Ken Lucas, District 3, said the staff should not spend any more time on the issue, as it appeared there were only five net complaints. “To me, rap is noise,” he added.
Deputy City Manager Elisha Thomas said there had been very few noise by vehicle infractions or reports, and therefore the staff was not recommending any legislation,
Mike Sutherland, District 3 councilman, stated that the number of complaints does not justify passage of a law. Violators could live anywhere, he said, including outside of Centennial.
Kathy Turley, District 1 councilwoman, stated, “You can’t regulate morality.”
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