End of Year Council Wrap-up

Update: Click for School of Mines IGA Virtual Meeting link and information

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Golden City Council Ward 4 Newsletter: William Fisher
End of Year Council Wrap-up
No need to re-hash #2020. Enjoy a few final tidbits from recent Council actions and let’s get ready for 2021!
Happy Holidays from the Fishers
Oddly…. hopeful!?!

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.
View Draft IGA & FAQ
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.”
View the Full Guide
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.
Feedback?Email bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com for regular updates and to communicate your thoughts, ideas and concerns.

Weekend Update: Black Lives Matter, City Finances, Astor House Options & More…

Marchers walk along 11th street in Golden, CO on June 7th, 2020 to protest the killing of George Floyd among others – Black Lives Matter.

Weekend Update

Black Lives Matter

 Many of us have been rocked by the overwhelming reality of systemic racism and inequality demonstrated so clearly and obviously the last several weeks. The death of George Floyd and others have focused our country on these longstanding issues.

Mayor Weinberg & Golden City Councilors have provided a strong initial response and appear committed to listening, learning and -most importantly- action.

WilliamFisher.com has details and links to responses by the Mayor, City Councilors and Police Department, and ways to get involved.

Key points (see blog for details)
o June 4: City Council responds to George Floyd & many black citizens’ deaths during Regular Meeting
o June 7: Mayor & Council attend Golden United Vigil & March in Golden. Almost all attendees wearing masks!
o June 11: Mayor & City Council unanimously approve Resolution 2736 declaring Racism A Public Health Crisis. Proclamation read for Pride Month (GLBTQ)
o JULY 16: Committed to action – Golden City Council Study Session with Police Department on next steps… stay tuned!

City Finances & COVID-19

Golden Pandemic Financial Crisis Review
The short answer: Revenues are down, but not as much as we predicted. Sales Tax revenues are down about 5.5%, we anticipated 7-8%. Restaurants, retail and lodging has suffered. Groceries, Home Depot, and online sales are up (Amazon, Wayfair, etc.).

As a former City Councilor I faced the 2008-2009 Great Recession with Golden, and we actually improved financial reserves during that time.  We worked closely with Golden’s Finance Director Jeff Hansen and his team.

Fortunately, Jeff remains at the helm for Golden. I trust his thoughtful guidance and deep thinking about how to protect and maintain Golden, weather the current storm, and maybe even come out ahead.

City Manager Jason Slowinski has taken a conservative line on spending since March – City Council has approved the following efforts:

  • Hold non-critical expenditures (travel, training, upgrades, fireworks, etc.)
  • Freeze on employee travel
  • Soft hiring freeze (e.g Park Rangers hired for COVID-19 safety)
  • The City has identified over $2.6 Million in cuts/holds through the end of the year, which should more than match expected losses. There is a 2nd level of deeper cuts identified if necessary.
  • Asphalt/street/sidewalk replacement for this year will be limited, with the ability to make further cuts.
  • It’s also (already) time to start planning the 2021-2022 bi-annual budget, and City Council will be reviewing priorities to share with Staff.
  • Golden is receiving $1.6 Million from Jefferson County for COVID-19 related expenses. The City Manager and Council discussed plans to ensure it is spent appropriately to benefit our community!
  • Listen and watch the June 11th City Council Financial report and discussion.

COVID-19

The City is hoping to partially open the Splash water park. Golden Community Center opening details are still pending. Summer camps for kids are opening.

Want the latest on what’s open or closed in the City? (e.g. parks & rec, Fossil Trace golf course, City buildings and Court, Clear Creak, tubing, etc.). Visit the new Status of City Services webpage

Jefferson County received a variance from Safer-At-Home orders affecting gatherings, graduations, gyms and other G words, review all variance updates.

Mayor Weinberg & City Manager Slowinski continue video updates: Latest update June 10th with Special Guest Councilor Jim Dale.

The BGoldN program continues serving those in need of food assistance as well as our community businesses.

(NOTE Updated LinkVolunteer Golden website now online.

NEW!  Questions, concerns or thoughts on the City’s COVID-19 response and temporary road and parking closures Downtown? Email Recovery@cityofgolden.net


Masks

BilFish with face covering along Clear Creek

Back in March it was not clear face coverings mattered.
More and More evidence supports the value of Masks and 
Face Coverings to reduce COVID-19 transmission!

Education on use of masks is a team effort. Residents, Businesses and the City all have roles to keep us safe and open. 

The City of Golden just received a shipment of 5,000 masks! 2,500 have already been distributed to help businesses provide education and masks for visitors.

Along with staying safer at home and social distancing, masks and even homemade face coverings are proving valuable in reducing transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

The more we keep this under control, the more we can open our businesses and get back to life enjoying Golden – and it keeps more people alive. Period.

Read updated Mask and Face Covering guidance.


(image: Wikipedia)

Astor House

I’ve been clear that Golden is not some desperate City needing to sell off our heritage. This certainly includes the Astor House! 

At the June 11th City Council meeting, City Council reviewed Staff recommendations on a thoughtful process to accept offers from long-standing Golden non-profit and other organizations interested in partnering with the City. We authorized Staff and a subcommittee of Councilors to work with community members to make progress and ensure the Astor House doesn’t end up sitting abandoned and decaying.

Our Community Goals include the City retaining ownership and partnering for the greatest public benefit and access (read the memo for details). This dovetails well with the citizen-led recommendations of the Astor House Alliance (Aha!). Read the AHA surveys and suggestions here.  

Community Events

I’ve encouraged Staff to take a deeper dive this Fall into what we as a community want for Events. They’ve agreed. (To be led by Deputy City Manager Carly Lorentz).

Staff report we will have Movies in the Parking Lot  (drive-in) in August and September!

Golden Farmer’s Market had a good start last week with new guidelines and safety measures.

Most event holders through summer have chosen to cancel – notably Buffalo Bill Days and Golden Fine Arts Festival

July 4th – The Lions are going virtual all day on the 4th, check out their Facebook Page for details.

Thanks for everyone who has provided comments on Black Lives Matter, the Astor House, events, the budget, wearing masks and more – keep them coming, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.  

Cheers, 
Bill Fisher, RN
Ward 4 Councilor
Golden, Colorado

Ward 4 FeedbackEmail bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com for regular updates and to communicate your thoughts, ideas and concerns.