Doesn’t sound very impressive. Yet Senate Bill 213 could become the single most disruptive bill in recent Colorado history.
Take time to get to know it.
It *WILL* affect your community, and your neighborhood… and probably the street you live on. If you live in a city.
Golden City Council has not taken an official position as of yet. As the Councilor for Ward 4, I urge you to understand the potential impacts of this bill. Perhaps start by reading a few articles which hit close to home… so close to home they use Golden’s “Howdy Folks” sign to illustrate it.
* Give power to Developers to put a 6-unit condo in any neighborhood, even ones currently with single family homes. – And Golden can’t require the builder to add any parking for all of these new tenants – Imagine the next-door neighbor’s house being scraped and suddenly becoming a 6-unit rental building owned by a corporate landlord, with the building pushed out to within 5 feet of the property line in all directions, 30-35 feet tall.
* Live in an HOA or PUD zoned area? That won’t matter. The bill eliminates the power of homeowners’ associations to keep out certain types of housing.
* Removes limits in state law on the number of unrelated people who can live together
* ADUs – Golden allows them in many areas, as long as there is an owner on site. That goes away, and ADUs can be built in by companies looking to expand rentals
* Oh, and this only applies to Cities … somehow Counties are exempted. Golden is included as a “Tier 1” city — the most dramatically affected.
Many of us are working diligently to make affordable housing options available. Golden has hired an affordable housing policy coordinator to improve our efforts both locally and regionally, and to be a part of the solution to the housing crisis we face in Colorado.
Being concerned about this bill isn’t a matter of NIMBYism – the bill represents a complete overhaul and functional dismantling of local zoning regulations.
I grew up in Arizona, where developers have traditionally run the state to benefit themselves with explosive growth and unrestrained development at any cost. I’m saddened, and stunned, to imagine a future like that for Colorado.
I support affordable housing changes to our codes, and I support efforts to ensure equitable treatment across our zoning codes. This bill will not achieve that. For further reading, click below!
I’m pleased to officially announce my candidacy for Golden’s Ward 4 City Council position.
Election Day is officially Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021, and Mail Ballots will go out mid-October.
During more than 20 years of living and raising our family in Golden, I’ve seen changes in our small-town community as we grow into a thriving, energetic city designed to meet new challenges.
Along the way, I’ve retained my love of Golden. And I’m thankful for the support of fellow residents who share this belief in who we are, and who we may become.
I am running for City Council to bring this positive vision to how we shape and manage the real problems, concerns, issues, and opportunities on the road ahead.
I commit to provide a shared respect for our historic small-town character and advocate for a greater balance for those of us who already live here – especially in light of the increasing numbers of visitors and those hoping to join our community.
We are not alone in facing the pressures of continued growth and change. Yet how we respond as a community should be unique to Golden’s history, character, and values.
Proven Results. The past eighteen months have proven our community’s resilience: we are weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, critical financial concerns, and issues of equity while supporting residents and improving neighborhood parks and amenities.
We have maintained the City’s financial strength and supported local businesses. Golden has forged new partnerships through an IGA with the School of Mines to support our Historic Neighborhoods, we have invigorated the historic Astor House downtown, and made progress towards meeting critical sustainability goals.
There are issues where we have not made progress as fast as envisioned prior to the pandemic:
Managing tourism and crowding downtown and along Clear Creek
neighborhood parking concerns
updating zoning laws to maintain the vitality of our distinctive housing mix and beautiful natural geography
reducing noise and pollution along highways 6, 93 & 58
fostering diverse and affordable workforce housing
Public health remains a priority, as does supporting residents who remain at risk for financial, food, and housing insecurity.
Bottom line: Golden remains a thriving community. AND there is work to be done.I
respect the trust that has been placed in me to represent residents of Ward 4. With your continued support, I remain committed to achieving results for you and all Golden residents.
The more engaged we are, the better we will be – I want to hear from you!
Please considering forwarding this newsletter with a neighbor and suggest they sign up by visiting WilliamFisher.com. Have thoughts to share? Email me or contact me at 303.588.3389.
Bill Fisher, RN Ward 4 City Councilor Golden, Colorado
Hot Topics Include: . New Golden residential waste services contract (with recycling & composting) . City Strategic Action Plan progress update by City Manager . Lodging Tax discussion – what should it help pay for? . Mobile Home park re-zoning to support affordable housing . Marijuana Excise Tax – should Golden introduce Recreational pot shops? . Golden Zoning Code rewrite – Draft 2 has been released! Discussion with Planning Commission, share your thoughts. . City 2nd Quarter financial updateWith July 4th upon us, many are thinking about safeguarding our independence of spirit. I see this reflected in the strong community spirit that drives Golden – within our government, our citizens, our residents and our volunteers.
May you and your family enjoy celebrating and have a peaceful Independence Day weekend.Stay safe and leave fireworks to the pros,
Bill Fisher, RN Ward 4 City Councilor Golden, Colorado
Council Updates Clear Creek Safety & Paving Summer crowding, safety, and paving part of Grant Terry trail With warmer weather and bigger crowds, the Clear Creek summer season is upon us. Thanks to all of you who provided feedback from my last newsletter.
At a recent City Council meeting, we received a “thumbs up” to increase oversight and management of the Creek for crowding and safety. Staff will be preparing what this looks like and how City Council, the Parks & Rec & Museum Board, and residents can stay involved.
Safety update: The City has now added a water safety flag system (Red-Yellow-Green) to help visitors using the water stay safer depending on water conditions. Grant Terry Trail (GTT) A paving project is underway along Clear Creek just west of Golden by Jeffco Open Space through most of July. I’ve received several questions and comments about this process. This is a Jefferson County Open Space project (not Golden).
Apparently, the original path parallel to US6 is no longer being constructed, hence the desire to improve GTT. The project will result in the loss/change of about 1/3 of a mile of the Grant Terry Trail as soft surface only, but trail users are gaining 1.5 miles of soft-surface only Flume Trail and Welch Ditch trail (where bikes will be prohibited).
I and other City Councilors have requested that Golden and JCOS hold a public tour and discussion to help everyone understand the changes and decision process. FAQ and more details at my website.
Lodging Tax discussion Did you know Golden is one of just a few cities in the U.S. without a lodging tax? Hard to believe, but it’s true! A lodging tax is a nearly-universal way to ask visitors to fairly and equitably contribute to what brings them to Golden in the first place.
Tourists are drawn here because of our world-class amenities and scenic environment, culturally rich downtown and historic neighborhoods, trails and parks, museums and beautiful Clear Creek. . . all paid for by Golden residents.
It’s a matter of fairness. We pay lodging taxes in other cities, but visitors to Golden do not return the favor.
Who pays a lodging tax? The lodging industry? No. Golden residents? No. Only tourists pay for overnight rentals to help support the services they use and enjoy.
The City is proposing funds generated by a lodging tax be used to offset significant impacts of tourism and help our local businesses remain competitive, with the remainder put in a dedicated Golden Fund.
Other ideas include enhancing our community through workforce housing and affordable living solutions, universal broadband internet access, sustainability, parks and open space, improved food security, public transit options and more.
If Council forwards this for a citywide vote, you get to decide this November whether a lodging tax will improve our financial security and the health, welfare, and safety of Golden.
Guiding Golden: Lodging Tax Discussion Protecting our Youth City Council is undertaking various initiatives to improve the health and welfare of our children. Councilor JJ Trout and I have introduced a Health Beverages Initiative to support parents wanting to provide healthier guidance and options for kids when eating out.
Did you know an 8 oz ‘child-size’ soda has about 6 teaspoons of sugar? This is the total added sugar the American Heart Association recommends kids consume in an entire day. In fact, the average child in the U.S. consumes over 30 gallons of sugary drinks every year – enough to fill a bathtub. Whoa!
This program may ask restaurants offering Kids’ Meals to package them with water, non-sugary sparkling water, or milk. This would not prevent parents from ordering other drinks (e.g. soda, juice, chocolate milk).
Look for this to come back to Council this summer or fall. Support or have questions about this? Please share your thoughts with City Council!
Some community members are working with Jefferson County Public Health to consider ways to protect our youth from flavored vaping nicotine products
In 2019 Golden City Council took steps to protect youth by raising the age to purchase to 21 for all tobacco and nicotine products. Continuing that conversation around flavored nicotine products is an important next step.
Help shape the future of tobacco prevention in Golden Monday, July 19th from 12 – 1pm. Zoom Meeting Please join the Jefferson County Public Health Tobacco Prevention Initiative onJuly 19th from 12 – 1pm for a continued community dialogue about opportunities to strengthen tobacco prevention efforts in Golden.
We invite you to share your story, provide input about the direction of tobacco prevention initiatives in Golden, and discuss ways we can work together over the next several months.
To receive the Zoom information, please RSVP using this link.
RTD Service Changes – Golden public comment needed! RTD is proposing continued reduced services for Golden area residents.As the region begins to recover from COVID-19, RTD is proposing service changes.
Unfortunately, Golden is not in line for any service enhancements in the new draft proposal. For example, the GS line between Boulder and Golden and on to NREL is a priority to many here in Golden, but is not currently planned for reinstatement.
We also face continued reduced frequency on the RTD West Line Light Rail.
Now is the time to be heard! The final virtual public comment session is July 7th.
JeffCo Open Space is set to start paving a section of Grant Terry Trail north of Clear Creek. Here’s what to know…
(UPDATE July 2, 2021: I and other City Councilors have requested that Golden and JCOS hold a public tour and discussion to help everyone understand the changes and decision process. Stay Tuned…)
Residents of Golden have recently noticed an electronic signboard along Clear Creek near the 6th Avenue bridge (west side of Golden as it goes into the canyon). It states the Grant Terry Trail will be closed for about a month for a paving project.
This is a Jefferson County Open Space project (not a City of Golden project).
This will result in the loss of about 1/3 of a mile of the Grant Terry Trail as soft surface only, but trail users are gaining 1.5 miles of soft-surface only Flume Trail, and Welch Ditch trail (where bikes will be prohibited).
The Peaks 2 Plains project has been under construction for a couple of years. The final part apparently includes an ADA-accessible paved surface from the edge of Golden to the pedestrian bridge across the creek west of Golden as well as to the new “Gateway of Clear Creek Canyon Park” trailhead / parking lot up on 6th as it enters the canyon.
The original Project Map (above left button) shows the north side of Grant Terry Trail as “existing” (small black hash lines) and does not indicate it is part of the project’s construction scope. The Project Map was updated on 6/23/21 to clarify the alignment changes…
Grant Terry Trail portions in gray to be paved with an adjacent soft-surface trail. Portions in red will remain as the existing soft surface trail with no paving.
I asked City Staff if they would provide additional information related to questions from residents about this project, and need for paving. Here are the responses.
Q: When was this discussed and how?
A: As part of the Peak to Plains project Jefferson County conducted public outreach and it went before the Golden PRAM board (Parks, Recreation & Museums) at both the May and June PRAM meetings during the director’s report. There were not many questions, and no concerns. PRAM gave positive feedback to it and agreed that it was appropriate to move forward. There was support voiced for soft surface trails adjacent to the paved path which is an included element in the project. The typical practice is if there are concerns it would go on the next agenda and because there were not any it did not move forward to that stage. See below for the minutes from the May conversation:
Peaks to Plains – The City owns 2000’ of trail on the west side of 6th Ave. Jeffco is putting in concrete for Peaks to Plains. We did not schedule concrete on the 2000’because of the hydrology inthe area; the lines pop up. There is debate about putting a concrete trail on top to see if it would holdit down. Public Works and Utilities have been reluctant to put concrete on the trail. Jeffco andGolden had a meeting to discuss the possibility of putting concrete on that portion of the trail. Jeffcois willing to create an IGA together to pay for it and mitigate/fix issues if they arise. They would alsoinclude a soft surface trail alongside if it fits. Craig thinks it makes sense for continuity. Rodexplained the concrete will provide continuity as well as making it multi-mobile.
Q: What is the happening with the Grant Terry Trail?
A: The portion of the GTT that connects the Clear Creek Trail and the US6 Regional Trail to the Peaks to Plains (P2P) trail is being improved. A 10’ trail and 5’ soft surface path will be constructed to connect the Clear Creek Trail and US 6 Regional Trail to the P2P trail. The trail width will remain the same, no additional disturbance to the area will occur during construction or afterward. A portion of the existing trail will remain natural surface for runners and those with orthopedic issues or who prefer that type of surface. The natural surface trail width will vary, and the concrete trail will be 10 feet wide. The new concrete trail will also be stained for a more natural appearance and to match the P2P Trail.
Q: Why does the trail need to change?
A: The expected use of the trail will change it drastically and if left in its current state will be an issue to maintain with the large increase in traffic and uses and ability to provide accommodation. With the construction of the P2P gateway section, the Grant Terry Trail is no longer a dead end trail connecting to a handful of recreational trails on Lookout Mountain. It is now connecting the Clear Creek Trail and US 6 Regional Trail to the Peaks to Plains trail.
Q: What are the benefits of a concrete path?
A: With this new connection and consultation with our ADA consultants, there are new standards for the section of the trail between US 6 and the Jefferson County pedestrian bridge. Once this happens, we either need to upgrade the section to meet the standards or add that trail to our ADA Transition Plan and commit to the upgrades in the future. The concrete surface will endure the increased use that will occur as more segments of the P2P Trail are completed. This durable, year-round surface will help address seasonal flooding and muddy conditions, as well as help stabilize the City of Golden main water line below the trail surface.
Q: Will the entire trail be paved?
A: No. Only the section between the US 6 Bridge and the Jeffco pedestrian bridge will be improved. The section between the pedestrian bridge and the Church Ditch headgate will remain a soft surface as will the Church Ditch Trail.
Q: What are the advantages of doing it now?
A: JCOS has enough contingency left in the P2P gateway section that they have offered to make the needed improvements to the entire section at no cost to the city. If we wait, the cost of the improvements could fall to the city and have to be budgeted in the Capital Improvement Program. The current cost of these improvements is $250-300,000.
Q: Why weren’t these improvement included in the original P2P plan?
A: There are a couple reasons. Golden had raised concerns about increased maintenance costs for the raw water line that runs under GTT. Since the original plan included a paved path that ran parallel to US6 west of the bridge up to the parking area, JCOS did not include improvements to the GTT. This does not change that it is now a multi-use path that will eventually need to be improved. The path parallel to US6 is no longer being constructed making the need to improve GTT more apparent. As mentioned above, JCOS has adequate budget to complete these improvements and has offered to make them as part of the P2P project.
Q: I hear that the soft path may only be two feet wide. How wide will it be?
A: The goal is a five foot soft path adjacent to the concrete trail. In some areas, large trees limit the space for a soft trail and a decision was made to preserve the trees and the tree canopy and have portions of the soft trail narrower, but always at least two feet. Additionally, there are plans to add an offshoot section of trail that would be entirely soft surface near this area that is approximately the same length.
Construction is slated to start Monday, June 28th. It’s unclear whether this may change. What is clear is that more traffic is coming to the Grant Terry Trail area.
I am encouraging JCOS and the City of Golden staff to provide additional communication regarding the updates to the project’s paved concrete section on the north side of Grant Terry Trail. I think it would also be beneficial to understand how much traffic (pedestrian, cars, bikes, etc.) is forecast to come with completion of this project.
If you would like to reach out to respectfully share your thoughts, and to learn more and have additional questions about the project answered, here are a few resources:
Tom Hoby Jefferson County Director of the Parks and Open Space Division email@example.com
Presentation focus o Recent crime trends in Golden, especially changes during 2020 o We were joined by Commander Greenwell of Lakewood from the Colorado Metro Auto Theft Taskforce regarding crime trends related to vehicular theft in the Denver Metro and Golden areas o Attendees received actionable home safety tips o Officers Page & Guess provided a Q&A session at the end for attendees.
The weather this weekend has me feeling optimistic! Plus, we have more vaccine doses, reduced case trends and opportunities to return to school for more of our children.
City Council has also been able to add back more traditionally Golden-centric issues. It’s great to continue progress from last year and accelerate efforts to enhance and preserve Golden!
I can also share that Golden’s financial condition remains strong and is bouncing back after critical belt-tightening last year combined with our diverse economy. In fact, January 2021 actually saw both increased Sales and Use tax receipts for the City from the year before.
Yet, our economic recovery remains uneven, and Historic Downtown businesses are still facing a road to recovery. To support vitality and a more thriving downtown, City Council recently voted to allow seasonal use of parking lanes by local businesses, based on successful lessons learned this past year.
I want to share a few updates and opportunities to get involved around Golden. NOTE: several items happening or due this week!
Bill Fisher, RN Ward 4 City Councilor Golden, Colorado
US 6 & Heritage Similar to the Linking Lookout project for US 6th and 19th a couple years back, Golden is working with Jefferson County and the state to redesign the US 6th and Heritage Road intersection.The second of several public input sessions was held February 24th.
School of Mines & Golden IGA InterGovernmental Agreement After years of input and negotiations, we are expecting to have an IGA come before Council for a vote this Spring.
Mayor Pro Tem Brown joined me and City Manager Slowinski for a public meeting for residents this past December, and the attorneys have made final tweaks to the draft. Along with the IGA there is a second “Operational IGA” Golden and Mines are working on. Click the link below for details. View Draft IGAs & FAQ
Zoning “In” – Golden’s Zoning Code Update We should pay attention to the first major overhaul of our zoning code in 50 years. And more than two years in the making, this may affect what you can do with your property and what your neighbors can do next door.
Remember: There will be more opportunities to provide input throughout Spring and Summer, please stay engaged and share your thoughts!
District 2 Golden Police Safety Presentation Just announced!
Residents of Wards 3 & 4 are encouraged to join us for a Virtual GPD Community Safety Presentation with Q&A on Thursday, March 18th at 6pm online. I am co-hosting this community event with Mayor Pro Tem Casey Brown and Ward 3 Councilor Jim Dale with special thanks to our Golden Police Department. – Get updates on what’s been happening in Golden and Wards 3 and 4 over the past year. – Learn how we can stay safer, and watch a presentation on auto theft trends by the Colorado Metro Auto Theft Task force. – Tips for crime prevention will also be offered, followed by an opportunity for community members to ask questions.
I’m proud of the work our Golden Police Department has been doing on our behalf, no more so than this past year. Thank you to the women and men of the GPD, and I appreciate their participation in this event!
Monthly Golden Safety Academy for residents from the Golden Police DepartmentDive in deeper and join one or all of this great series of monthly virtual events.
City Council recently met with each Board & Commission chair to collaborate on their 2021 Work Plans. Read more about each plan to learn about the tremendous work underway! (scroll down the agenda for specific work plans).
Golden Water Resources Finally, a note of caution regarding our water resources We know Colorado remains in a serious drought condition.
Golden continues to have strong water resources and rights, with multiple reservoirs and decades of forward-thinking planning.
To do our part in addressing challenges of drought and continue to think ahead to ensure continued need water supplies, Golden is asking all users to voluntarily reduce irrigation use this year by 10% (e.g. limit outside watering to 3x/week).Read more about Golden’s Water Division and resources here.
From our family to yours, we hope this finds you safely wrapping up a tumultuous 2020 with eyes to the future. I go into 2021 with feelings of sadness and gratitude, missing time with loved ones, grateful to live in a community with people of good heart and character, and the healthy outdoors at every turn.I am hopeful that scientific and fact-based solutions will see us past this stage of the global pandemic.
Vaccine options are arriving even as I type this: May we have renewed energy to be as safe as possible until widespread immunity is achieved we’ve tamped down the fires of the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus, a.k.a. COVID-19.
In the meantime: Masks, physical distancing, staying safer at home…
Vaccines will be safe, vetted and approved by the FDA. They will be securely managed, and vaccines will be FREE for everyone.
Please, please, please remain safe through the Holidays… and through Winter and Spring. As a hospice nurse seeing patients with COVID-19, I know we remain in the thick of it, with significant mortality rates for fellow residents who remain impacted by this horrific pandemic.
Gratitude Looking back, I am thankful for the tremendous work accomplished under difficult conditions by our City Staff, Boards & Commissions Volunteers, Residents, fellow Councilors & Mayor and Community Partners (BGoldN, Golden Civic Foundation, Foothills Art Center, our food banks and so many more…).
We addressed issues of a global pandemic, racial equity and an economic crisis – while remaining focused on more traditionally local issues that matter to Golden residents such as parking, historic preservation, zoning and character, safety and more.
And this is why I’m optimistic about Golden’s Future. Let’s enjoy this season to reflect and bid adieu safely to 2020 and get ready for 2021!
Thank you for continuing to engage and keep Golden the community we share and love.A Happy and Safe Holidays to you and your family,
Bill Fisher Ward 4 City Councilor Golden, Colorado
While our last Council meeting of the year was held this past Thursday, we are gaining traction on many issues going into the new year. . .
(Note: speaking of City Council meetings, starting January 12th, 2021, Council will begin holding meetings on Tuesdays instead of Thursday evenings.)Holidays Reimagined
Golden’s Holiday activities and Olde Golden Christmas have been reimagined, and I’m impressed by the creativity and wonderful events to keep our holiday season alive.
Visit Golden has information on the myriad activities available, starting with Candlelight Nights: FAC Holiday Art Market, Ice sculpture, History Park Holiday Stroll and Lights, Miners Alley Playhouse virtual offerings and more…
School of Mines & Golden IGAInterGovernmental AgreementAfter years of negotiating, Council has authorized release of a draft IGA for public neighborhood review.
Mayor Pro-Tem Casey Brown and I will host a virtual public review of the IGA with the City Manager’s office next Thursday, December 17th at 6:30pm. Primary impacted neighbors will receive postcard reminders, and anyone is welcome to join.
Pro Tip: Normally I don’t recommend reading legal memos, however the November 10, 2020 Attorney’s Memo release by Council is a winner.
For those interested in joining this meeting, I’ll publish a link to the Virtual Meeting on my website.
Activating the Astor HouseAstor House negotiations with the Foothills Art Center are successfully coming to a close! I expect Council to approve the agreements at our first meeting in January, thus fulfilling our community’s commitment to preservation and letting this next phase move forward.
Thanks to so many residents who provided thoughtful input and the energy that will make the Astor House a key part of our Historic Downtown for decades to come.
Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI)City Council formed the JEDI subcommittee to help guide ongoing actions by our City Government. Our conversations with the Community and Golden Police Department continue to build trust with the men and women of our Police department, and to understand our nation’s legacy and the need to be proactive and anti-racist.
This past week, with a firm commitment towards justice, the GPD requested and City Council committed nearly a million dollars to accelerate body worn cameras for our police department (who was ahead of the game and investigated this option a few years ago). To stay involved, visit Guiding Golden or consider community organizations such as the Golden Anti-Racist Collective.
Our Golden Fire Department, led by Chief Alicia Welch, has also been working hard on issues of diversity and inclusion:
”Last year the Golden Fire Department entered into a partnership with the International Association of Fire Chiefs as part of a diversity and inclusion grant program. Five other fire departments in addition to GFD engaged in this process, and the result of the project is the Guide for Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Department.”
As Chief Welch noted recently to Council, “I am proud of the work we did here, and to have the GFD highlighted as a fire department who is doing the right things to make our profession inclusive and distinct.”
#2021 on TapComing into the New Year we have many initiatives focusing on health and safety of Golden. For example, we expect to re-visit the impact of flavored nicotine and vaping products on our children. If you have an interest in getting involved in this discussion, please let me know!
Look for more information on sustainability initiatives. At this week’s meeting Council approved measures put forth by CSAB (Community Sustainability Advisory Board) to study increased renewable energy usage in Golden and took the GoEV pledge to electrify our transportation system.
The Heart of Golden remains on track for additional action next year, as does the Zoning Code rewrite task force efforts to align construction and growth in Golden with our Vision 2030 and neighborhood plans. This is how we, as a community, help direct and manage change and reflect positive growth in Golden.
Beyond these, sound and air pollution mitigation remain topics for discussion and action due to the presence of the Coors power plant and wastewater treatment plants, as well as multiple highways criss-crossing our valley.
Open Space continues front of mind, supporting local businesses as well as our many schools continues to be a priority… I look forward to joining you in moving the needle on these and so much more in 2021.
October Weekend Updates: Astor House, Police listening session & moreRegister Here
At 6pm on Thursday, Oct 29th, Golden Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick and Golden City Manager Jason Slowinski will be participating in a virtual listening session focused on the topic of racial equity.
The primary goal of the session is to listen to questions, suggestions, feedback, and stories from the community to create better understanding between the City and community members, particularly community members of color. This event is one of the first steps in the process to make Golden a more welcoming place. You may also call to join the conference by phone at +1-408-418-9388.
The next step will be to host a virtual Community Town Hall to take a deeper dive into the topics brought up during the listening session. More details to come. City Council and Staff are taking to heart a focus to improve racial equity and justice, and advocating for more equal opportunity.
Golden 2021-2022 Operating Budget As the COVID-19 pandemic hit and even prior to the financial crisis, City Manager Slowinski and City Council (even prior to my election) responded swiftly and appropriately with financial controls and spending and hiring freezes and reductions.
We are the beneficiaries. While revenues (primarily sales taxes) are likely to be down about 8% this year, spending is down more. Our critical reserves, projected to end at a healthy 22%, will likely end the year even higher at 27%. I’ll say that again: our financial cushion will improve during 2020.
So, the City is in good financial shape. This could have been very different!
City Council, during our study session last night, encouraged maintaining a conservative spending outlook. I and other councilors are encouraging our team to find ways to support health and safety needs of our residents and employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and financial crisis.
The City’s Finance Director, Jeff Hansen, expects continued cuts, wage freezes and belt tightening, with 2019 revenues rebounding hopefully by about 2023.
Much of our budget depends on sales taxes, which direct how we focus our energies and limits how we think about spending.
Amendment B directly affects the City of Golden’s flexibility in spending and management of our budget. I encourage everyone to take a strong look at this bipartisan measure. It provides greater flexibility to local communities such as Golden in how we manage budgets, revenues, and expenses, and reduces the need to focus on sales taxes. And FYI – it does not raise taxes.
I can see the headlines now 🙂 Astor House to be Preserved and Enhanced! Activating an important area of downtown! City Council agrees with residents’ desire to preserve Golden’s History!Literally almost 50 years in the making!
Well, okay, the most recent process has been at least several years in the making, including the Astor House Alliance, West Downtown neighborhoods, involved residents, members of Friends of the Astor House, the Golden Civic Foundation, Golden History Museums, City Council and Staff and more…
The Astor House Moves Forward City Council voted last week to direct City Staff to move forward with negotiations with the Foothills Arts Center to improve, restore, preserve, and operate Golden’s Astor House and Astor House Park. The City will retain ownership and Council added a Local Landmark status for the Astor House earlier this summer. Visit Guiding Golden for links to the FAC proposal – it’s a fairly large document.
City News You Can Use Heart of Golden refining process With a bold relaunch, the Heart of Golden is in full swing. Be a part of the future of Golden’s Clear Creek corridor through Downtown, and make history by providing your input!
I especially like the chance to be a visionary: “Design your own corridor.” Click the button below to get started at the Heart of Golden
City of Golden Special Events policy Quick review: When I was on Council a decade ago (oh, geez, I promised myself I’d never say that… ;-), we took what was then considered a controversial step: we acknowledged that the City has a role to play with special events (and not just the groups that put them on).
In 2015-2016 the City went further to identify changes and create our current Special Events policy, and ask for event holders to share in the burden of expenses from the event (trash, setup, location fees, etc.).
Fast forward to 2020: During my campaign (and really the last year and more), it’s become clear from almost every resident of Golden that we need to re-evaluate and extend our Special Events policies and process.
Everyone has an event they love, and usually one they don’t love so much. Too commercial? Not Local enough? Too crowded? Too many lane closures downtown? Etc…
I’ve pushed for a more considered conversation, and Deputy City Manager Carly Lorentz has been working this year with Special Events Coordinator Diane Tiberi to address events. Last night Council discussed Special Events at our study session. It’s worth a watch if you have time (I mean, it’s no Ted Lasso, but it’s local). Read the City Council meeting packet here.
Spooky Halloween Reminders
Tips on staying safe from the State of Colorado and Golden:
As we enter the holiday season, Jefferson County Public Health and the CDC are sharing that COVID-19 cases are increasing dramatically. As we gather for small personal events, please remain safe. Gatherings should be no more than 10 people, use physical distancing, and try to be outside when possible. Wear masks. Wash your hands.
October Golden Resident Branch Drop-Off (Today and tomorrow!) The City of Golden will host a special event for the community to drop off branches broken from the recent storm to assist residents with their yard clean-up on October 16 and 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Read details here.
Reminder: Make a plan to vote this year!
Your vote matters. Talk to your college-aged children. Sit down with your high-school seniors turning 18. Have “the talk” with your parents 😉
You can vote in person, by mail, or dropping your ballot off at a local collection drop box. JeffCo Voting Locations
Golden has four drop-off locations this year! Lots of opportunity to be safe and vote as early as possible to ensure your ballot gets counted. I wouldn’t mail in your ballot after about October 26th to ensure it arrives in time.Pro Tip: Voting early slows the stream of phone calls and political mailers. Have additional thoughts? Continue sharing them via Feedback and Social Media links below.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Bill Fisher, RN Ward 4 City Councilor Golden, Colorado
“…Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
For more than a decade I have provided a yearly roundup of issues on the ballot at the request of friends and residents subscribed to the Golden Ward 4 Email Newsletter. Recommendations are focused on how I perceive issues as they relate to Golden.
I also suggest the excellent descriptions and analysis in the Colorado Blue Book mailed to all voters and available online. Unfortunately, this year it weighs in at an amazing 176 grams (more than 6 ounces) and over 100 pages. The front has a decent quick reference guide at only 6 pages in length.
Overview: “Amendment” vs “Proposition”
Amendment with Letter: impacts state constitution, added to ballot by CO Legislature
Amendment with Number: impacts state constitution, added by citizen signature gathering
Proposition with Double Letter: impacts statutes and/or taxes, added by CO Legislature
Proposition with Number: impacts statutes and/or taxes, added by citizen signature gathering
Without further ado, this year’s recommendations…
Amendment B: Repeals Gallagher Amendment Recommendation: Vote Yes With bipartisan legislative support, this benefits local communities and reduces further cuts to education funding and money for first responders such as EMS, doctors and nurses. It will reduce the focus on sales taxes to fund city operations.
Deeply complicated and embedded in Colorado’s continued property tax and education woes (principally related to TABOR), this would freezes some state property tax rates – which might otherwise go down in part because of the pandemic. It also critically supports businesses who have shouldered the property tax burden in the state of Colorado.
Again, this does not directly address the deeper issue of TABOR, however it begins to add local flexibility (e.g. by the residents of Golden) rather than using a statewide formula for taxes.
Amendment C: Bingo raffles Recommendation: Vote Neutral As people know, I do not generally recommend voting in favor of additional gambling or expansion of vices. This feels a bit different, in that it allows non-profits and religious organizations to raise funds through bingo games earlier than they would otherwise (no 5-year waiting period). Golden has organizations that would benefit from this, however this will likely expand an industry around the business of bingo.
Amendment 76: Reinforces existing requirement that only Citizens can vote Recommendation: Vote No Sorry, no two ways about this, it’s pure political theater, propaganda driven by out-of-state interests, and inappropriate manipulation of our amendment process (and affects the state Constitution!).
Only citizens can vote now. This Amendment implies otherwise, but changes nothing, and is embedded in the State Constitution. The real impact is to keep 17-year olds from voting in a primary if they would turn 18 by the time of the general election. Locally this reduces Goldenites control of who gets to vote.
Amendment 77: Gaming control of betting limits Recommendation: Vote No Casinos are a statewide concern. This gives tiny, mostly casino-controlled towns the ability to change gaming limits for all Coloradans (including Goldenites). As noted above, I do not endorse changes that significantly expand gaming or other vices in exchange for money.
Big Vape: You are on notice. It’s not okay to target our kids.
Proposition EE: Vaping & Nicotine taxes Recommendation: Vote Hell Yeah! We are in the middle of a pandemic that causes significant respiratory disease. Colorado teenagers already use nicotine and vape products at TWICE the national average. Sadly, Golden’s children mirror this trend of elevated vape use and addiction.
We know that increasing taxes is the number one proven way to reduce teen use.
It’s shocking to realize that even as Big Vape uses COVID-19 to expand their customer base (not kidding), we have NO TAXES on vape and some other nicotine products(e.g as we do on cigarettes currently). We know price is a significant factor in nicotine use.
Prop EE adds taxes to vaping products and also raises taxes on other nicotine products. The money raised will support pre-schools and K-12 education, as much as $275 Million.
Proposition 113: National Vote Recommendation: Vote Yes For Presidential elections, this would grant Colorado’s current Electoral College Votes to whichever candidate wins the popular national election (if enough States agree). This may seem peripheral to Golden, however it impacts the power of each of our votes. There is analysis which suggests voters in Colorado have reduced impact nationally because of the Electoral College. If, as I do, you think the person who receives the most votes should win, then vote yes.
Proposition 114: Gray wolf reintroduction and management Recommendation: Neutral I will vote yes on this, however there’s no clear nexus to the City of Golden to provide a recommendation. More generally, I believe we need to responsibly manage endangered species, and this effort provides an opportunity for Coloradans to do this, while continuing to protect ranchers’ rights and property in the state.
Proposition 115: Prohibiting Abortion Recommendation: Vote No This is a vote of conscience and I appreciate folks will disagree. This particular proposition is even opposed by many religious organizations such as the InterFaith Alliance, and has significant negative impacts on low-income women and communities of color. It creates criminal repercussions for health care workers, and does nothing to address the root causes related to this concern.
Proposition 116: State Income Tax Rate Reduction Recommendation: Vote No This heavily favors the wealthy, and reduces money for education among other important needs. Colorado and Golden schools are already stretched financially. This doesn’t help – which is the point for those who want to further strangle our limited financial resources. Paradoxically, it will create even more “Fees” from the government for everything we do… Fees that disproportionately hurt lower-income people and communities of color.
Proposition 117: (Sibling to 116), requires voter approval for certain state enterprises Recommendation: Vote No TABOR already significantly restricts how Colorado and local governments operate. This doubles down on TABOR and reduces flexibility to manage our state. Here’s an example: the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund is an existing enterprise that places a fee on large polluters to help pay for cleanup of petroleum contaminated sites in Colorado. If Prop 117 passes, any similar needs in the future would have to be funded by money from the state (e.g. residents of Golden) rather than charging fees to the group causing the problem. Seems unfair because it is unfair.
Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Recommendation: Vote Yes COVID-19 has exposed gaps in our safety net for many residents (including Goldenites), with even greater impacts for those who are lower-income producing and in communities of color.
Traditionally FMLA has benefited higher income and white-collar workers. This Insurance Pool will help more of our fellow Goldenites take care of an ailing parent or newborn, and supports small businesses while their employee is on leave. Win Win. This isn’t experimental, and is modeled on the many states already providing this benefit.
If you made it through all 11 amendments and propositions, you’re a trooper! One final step: Make a plan to vote. Your vote matters. Talk to your college-aged children. Sit down with your high-school seniors turning 18. Have “the talk” with your parents ;-)You can vote in person, by mail, or dropping your ballot off at a local collection drop box.JeffCo Voting LocationsVisit:Jefferson County Voter information
Find:24-hour secure drop box locations Last Minute Voting & Registration: In Colorado, you can both Register to vote and Vote in person through 7pm on Election Day! Golden has four drop-off locations this year! Lots of opportunity to be safe and vote as early as possible to ensure your ballot gets counted. I wouldn’t mail in your ballot after about October 26th to ensure it arrives in time.Pro Tip: Voting early slows the stream of phone calls and political mailers. There are many strong feelings, opinions, and beliefs about who we are as a community, and how we navigate what has turned out to be a game-changing year.
I commit to listening and learning, and engaging with you and the Golden community.
Have additional thoughts? Continue sharing them via Feedback and Social Media links below. Enjoy the rest of this beautiful Fall weekend!
For more information, contact: Communications Manager/PIO Karlyn Tilley Office: 303-384-8132 firstname.lastname@example.org
Emergency Ordinance Expands Mask Requirements in Golden
Golden, Colo. — July 10, 2020 — Golden City Council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance during their meeting last night, which expands current mask requirements to include indoor and outdoor areas of the city. This goes into effect today. Council made this decision in an effort to protect the community against COVID-19 and keep businesses open.
Ordinance 2140 requires face coverings for anyone working or visiting a building that’s open to the public. The order also requires masks in public areas outside, unless you can maintain six feet of separation from others. This includes streets, sidewalks, parks, trails, etc.
Exemptions to the mask order include:
Children under 3 years of age
People with existing medical conditions that make mask-wearing unsafe to their health
Anyone undergoing a medical procedure (ex. Dentist or doctor appointments)
When you are seated and eating or drinking
Organized sports leagues that are already in compliance with health guidelines
In Golden, follow the Golden Rule and wear a mask to protect others!
This Ordinance expires on Aug. 14 unless City Council votes to extend it. They will re-visit the mask ordinance monthly and make adjustments as necessary based on current health guidelines and pandemic concerns.
Additionally, Council directed staff to look for ways to re-open Clear Creek for limited recreation. Until safe solutions can be identified and implemented, access to the creek will remain closed.