KINDLING -A Tale Of Two Cities

Greenwood Village is experiencing the largest number of candidates for city council in history.   The candidates appeared at a candidate forum at the majestic AMG National Trust Bank building September 27.  Dave Bullock had advised earlier that he would be out of town on a pre-planned trip and would miss the event.

The questions and the debates ran like clockwork. Villager coverage of the event was published last week and again this week.

A computer glitch left out several key paragraphs which have been reprinted in this issue. The event was also played live and recorded by the sponsors, The Villager, League of Women Voters of Douglas and Arapahoe County, and South Metro Denver Chamber.

I would summarize the main points with several observations.

It almost begs of newcomers versus old guard, but outside of years of living in Greenwood Village there is a clear divide in the incumbent council sticking to their guns of single-family housing, strong support for the police,  and maintaining the status quo on lifestyle and diversity among residents.

It was summed up well when Anne Ingebretsen said, “I might want to live in Beverly Hills, but I might not be able to afford that.”  It came across loud and clear that currently Greenwood Village incumbents wanted to maintain a high standard of living and maintain the status quo.  

Challengers spoke about diversity, homelessness, and multi-family  affordable housing.  There has been for years the need for high-end apartments, similar to the Landmark, where residents tiring of large homes, expensive water bills, and empty nester bedrooms  want to live in the Village.  They do not want to leave the safety and security of Greenwood Village, their friends and favorite shops.

They also spoke of city employees and teachers that couldn’t  afford to live in the city where they worked.

There is a very limited supply of affordable single family condominiums or apartments in Greenwood Village. Presently land costs and home prices are soaring, and rents are high. 

The candidates all spoke well  and with multiple talents.  Between the live broadcast and the newspaper coverage voters can decide for themselves how much change they desire for the city.        

                                       
PART TWO:

I attended the Littleton Business Chamber Forum at Riverwalk last week and listened to the nine candidates for election in that city.  Six candidates seeking council seats and three mayoral candidates to be elected by a citywide vote rather than elected by the council.

The hot issue in Littleton is whether to raise the sales tax. The Littleton Business Chamber (LBC) advocated for a 0.50 percent tax increase to be placed on the ballot in November. City Council voted for a 0.75 percent increase while LBC had requested that the City Council sunset the 0.75 percent tax increase down to 0.50 percent after the city has met its capital improvement requirements thereby reducing the tax by 0.25 percent.  The new tax if passed will be 8.00 percent and that is on the ballot. There is not a sunset provision and no provision when the decrease might occur.

All of the candidates favored the tax increase and all suggesting a future sunset decrease.  Only Patrick Driscoll stated, “I don’t like tax increases,”  but he went along with all the candidates.

The three candidates for Mayor, Kyle Schlachter, Carol Fey and John Buck  all favored the tax increase, citing the need for capital improvements within the city.  The theme being that the city needed additional sales tax funding to match additional federal funding aks/ a local tax increase to get more tax money, a very taxing situation.

Mayor candidate Kyle Schlachter, a former council member, stated that the city general fund was in “good shape.”  Further, that regardless of COVID19, city sales tax revenues were up 17 percent.

Why was city sales tax up that much when many of the local business firms are closed, he didn’t say.  But the answer is that Littleton residents are staying at home and shopping on Facebook, whereby the city now collects sales tax revenues.  So much for shopping at home and supporting local business firms.

I have gone to Littleton at least once a week  during the last several years.  Store fronts are vacant, and lease and sale signs abound.  It is hard to fathom a raise in sales tax whereby over the next ten years the city residents will fork over $90 million to the city in sales tax revenues.  Granted that some will come from clients dining and supporting what business firms have managed to survive the pandemic.

Not one candidate offered any tax cut savings from city budgets while many small business firms have had to tighten their belts during this pandemic.

The sign on the liquor store on Littleton Blvd. states it well, Vote  “NO” on the proposed sales tax.  I agree with the store proclamation.

Littleton is a wonderful historic place and all of the candidates spoke fondly of the city and how they want it to thrive and flourish.

I have personally been involved in promoting street events and the great difficulty that organizers have endured with the government agencies to hold street events. Through  the dedication of chamber business members more cooperation has been forthcoming.  There are many events planned with a full slate of events in October.

Lastly,  in speaking with one of the mayoral candidates after the forum ended he related that the mayor’s position appears powerless, that it is ceremonial with ribbon cuttings but not running the city, that is left to the city staff and the city manager.  I guess my question, “Why have a mayor?”  

Littleton can be a great destination, as one candidate related, instead of driving downtown for dinner dine at one of the great restaurants in Littleton. Romano’s was the candidate’s favorite.  AMEN, end of sermon. Someone needed to say or write viewpoint.

bsween1@aol.com