Posts tagged City Manager
As a result of a state mandate to eliminate “List A” noxious weed species from all public and private property in Colorado communities, the City of Boulder is proposing an update to its existing weed ordinance to require property owners to remove the weeds from all properties.
“List A” weed species, as provided in the Colorado Noxious Weed Act, are plants that have yet to be well established in Colorado but are either present in small populations or are invasive in nearby states. There are two species of “List A” weeds that are of most concern within Boulder’s city limits: myrtle spurge and Japanese knotweed. The city was awarded a grant through the Colorado Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed Management Fund to assist in an educational plan.
“Early detection and eradication of these particular species can prevent them from becoming a major problem in Colorado,” said city Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Rella Abernathy. “Most of these plants are ‘escaped’ ornamental plants and many residents may not realize that they present a threat to the natural lands surrounding Boulder and are illegal to grow here.”
These noxious, invasive plants can negatively impact biodiversity, threaten endangered species, degrade native habitat, displace wildlife, increase soil erosion, damage streams and other wetlands and increase the risk and frequency of wildfires if allowed to spread. Boulder is in compliance with the Colorado Noxious Weed Act on city-owned properties but has not been enforcing the statue on private property.
The city will focus on education and outreach to notify the public of the requirements and to provide information for identification, environmentally-sound weed removal and suggested replacement plant options.
“A soft enforcement approach is being implemented with voluntary compliance being the goal and enforcement action being a last resort,” said Code Enforcement Supervisor Jennifer Riley. “However, ticketing is possible if property owners do not comply with repeated requests from officers to address illegal weeds.”
Education will begin with a “Purge Your Spurge” event on May 18 where residents are encouraged to pull their myrtle spurge and exchange it for free native plants. This event will occur as part of Boulder Community Day at the East Boulder Community Center, 5660 Sioux Drive, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other education efforts will include a webpage; fact sheets; media engagement; outreach to nurseries, landscapers and lawn care companies; and code enforcement officers who assist with education in the field.
“Identifying and removing noxious weeds from private property can take some effort, but it’s important to prevent these weeds from spreading to our neighbors’ yards and ultimately to natural areas,” said Abernathy. “Fortunately, only two of the weeds from the list are widespread within the Boulder city limits, myrtle spurge being the most common. We want to make sure people can easily identify the weeds, know how to remove them safely and know what native plants can be used to replace them.”
Myrtle spurge has been commonly used as a decorative plant. People should be aware that it contains a white sap that can cause skin irritation including blistering if touched. Those removing it should wear long sleeves, long pants, gloves and eye protection. Removing at least four inches of the root is recommended to prevent its return. It should be placed in a plastic bag and tightly fastened. DON’T compost noxious weeds as that will cause the weed to spread.
The city’s weed ordinance is expected to be modified through a City Manager rule change, which will be published in the Daily Camera on May 3, as well as on the city’s website. Public feedback will be accepted until May 20. The rule is anticipated to go into effect on June 1, 2013.
For more information or to provide feedback on the proposed City Manager’s rule, contact Rella Abernathy at 303-441-1901.
– CITY OF BOULDER NEWS RELEASE –
City implements additional fire restrictions for Open Space & Mountain Parks
The City of Boulder has implemented a City Manager’s Rule banning fire and smoking on all Open Space & Mountain Parks properties. OSMP imposes these bans during extreme fire hazard conditions for public safety and resource protection. Fire danger is currently at a very high level.
“As we can tell from the tragic fire in Larimer County, and as we know all too well here in Boulder, dry conditions can be very dangerous,” said Eric Stone, division manager for OSMP. “We are asking the public to take all precautions possible to prevent a fire on open space and in our community.”
The ban includes smoking and the use of any cook stoves on OSMP lands. The sheriff’s office has already put a ban in place that makes it illegal to use charcoal grills or campfires anywhere in Boulder County. The new OSMP ban could be lifted if and when fire conditions change. Violators are subject to criminal prosecution with penalties up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
OSMP and firefighters would appreciate the cooperation from the public in this important matter.
For more information on OSMP, please call 303-441-3440 or visit www.osmp.org
City Manager approves business incentive for Eetrex
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam has approved a flexible rebate application for Boulder-based Eetrex Incorporated, for up to $26,000 in rebates. The rebates were authorized for sales and use taxes, and permit-related fees.
The flexible rebate program is one of the city’s business incentives, covering a wide range of fees, equipment and construction use taxes. Under this program, the city manager may consider a specific incentive package for tax and fee rebates to meet a company’s specific needs. The company is then eligible for the rebate after it has made its investment and paid the taxes or fees to the city.
“Eetrex is part of the new energy economy and is leading innovation in power electronics and battery systems,” Brautigam said. “The city is pleased that its incentives are helping Eetrex grow and stay in Boulder.”
Eetrex develops power electronics and battery systems for the electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, telecommunications, and computing industries. The company is also the leading developer of on-vehicle inverter-chargers, known as Invergers™. Its battery systems are being used in demonstration projects to show how they can effectively store energy from wind and solar generation to offset peak loads and utilize clean energy more effectively. In 2006, Eetrex was founded in Boulder and moved into a larger 9,700 square-foot space at 4900 Pearl East Circle, Suite 110, in June 2011.
Kathryn Miles, president of Eetrex, said, “Eetrex is committed to supporting the community and establishing our business as an environmentally conscious company. Not only is our technology helping to green the transportation industry and support alternative energy, but we also encourage employees to ride their bicycles to work along with our zero waste practices. We are very pleased to receive this award in recognition of our efforts.”
The flexible rebate program uses social, community, and environmental sustainability guidelines. Companies choose the guidelines that best fit their circumstances, but must meet minimum requirements in order to receive the rebate. Eetrex has exceeded the minimum requirements of the community sustainability guidelines. Of note, Eetrex is implementing a zero waste policy through Green Girl Recycling and is a member of the 10 for Change challenge, which included an energy audit of its facility. The company also will request an EnergySmart training through the city’s Local Environmental Action Division.
Eetrex’s flexible rebate application is one of six submitted to the city in late 2011. Four 2011 applications are pending. The city’s approved 2012 budget includes $350,000 in funding for 2012 flexible tax and fee rebates for primary employers.
For more information about the city’s economic vitality program, go to www.bouldercolorado.gov, click on “Business,” or call Liz Hanson at 303-441-3287.
City Manager approves business incentive for Tendril
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam has approved a flexible rebate application for Boulder-based Tendril for up to $85,000 in rebates. The rebates were authorized for sales and use taxes, and permit-related fees.
The flexible rebate program is one of the city’s business incentives, covering a wide range of fees, equipment and construction use taxes. Under this program, the city manager may consider a specific incentive package for tax and fee rebates to meet a company’s specific needs. The company is then eligible for the rebate after it has made its investment and paid the taxes or fees to the city.
“The City of Boulder is pleased that Tendril, a company founded in Boulder, is growing and able to maintain operations in the city, in part, due to city-offered incentives,” said City Manager Jane S. Brautigam. “Tendril is at the forefront of energy technology and represents the future of the industry.”
Tendril is transforming the way the world interacts with energy. The company’s technology allows consumers to modify their behaviors to reduce both their costs and energy usage and allows the utility to speak with the consumer during peak periods in order to reduce demand. Tendril is expanding and recently renovated and moved into an approximately 52,000 square-foot space at 2560 55th St.
“We are proud to be a Boulder-based company. Boulder provides access to great talent, an unmatched quality of life for our employees and a vibrant technology community that is quickly becoming a center of clean tech innovation,” said David Rayner, chief financial officer at Tendril. “As a leader in clean technology, it is important to us that we ‘walk the walk’ on green initiatives and we’re thrilled to receive recognition from the City of Boulder for our sustainability efforts.”
The flexible rebate program uses social, community, and environmental sustainability guidelines. Companies choose the guidelines that best fit their circumstances, but must meet minimum requirements in order to receive the rebate. Tendril has exceeded the minimum community sustainability guidelines. Of note, Tendril participates in RTD’s Eco Pass program and has a Green Team responsible for managing environmental initiatives, including holding in-house educational sessions, purchasing energy-friendly appliances, and maintaining composting and recycling programs. The company will participate in energy efficiency programs such as receiving an energy assessment for its new facility and participating in the 10 for Change challenge.
Tendril’s flexible rebate application is one of six submitted to the city in late 2011. Five 2011 applications are pending. The city’s approved 2012 budget includes $350,000 in funding for 2012 flexible tax and fee rebates for primary employers.
I wanted to add one additional question, though, it has nothing to do with my Open records request.
Why did the Boulder Police Department stop at two witnesses being interviewed when I gave them three additional witnesses that also had a recollection of events similar to mine?
Chief Beckner? is it because you might be getting too close to the truth, that your officer actions were uncalled for and she lied about the incident after the fact to cover her own wrongdoing.
On Oct 15, 2011, at 10:01 AM, SETH BRIGHAM wrote:
It seems my written request to The Boulder Police Department changed their mind, when I received a call to pick up some materials, no thanks to Tom Carr, who denied my request.
Still, they claimed to have no documents in the property/evidence department. There are no documents, notes, e-mails, communications other than the Police Report 11-6851?
I would expect there must still be a file of documents, something, that pertains to the case, like detective notes, e-mails, for example, between myself and Chief Beckner and Yamaguchi?
I have those e-mails.*
But, there is no record of that?
As well, I made an official complaint of the actions of the arresting officer to Sgt. Kerry Yamaguchi who was supposed to investigate such complaints. I never got a response from Yamaguchi.
So, no investigation was pursued or Beckner took it upon himself to have two witnesses I identified to be contacted and interviewed? He e-mailed a response to me but that’s not part of the record?
Isn’t any action by The Police department or public officials in regard to my charges, arrest, saved as evidence? And, I expect, suspect, that there was some communication between public officials about my arrest.
Surely, there is more that the Boulder police department has than this “evidence” on CD of two interviews* of two witnesses and photographs* of the “scene” that came about due to my advocacy, my complaint.
So, my request is down to any documents or e-mails, communications between the parties; The City of Boulder, any public officials, City Manager, even Carr… The Boulder Police department? in regard to my arrest on June 3rd, 2011.
Strange, I thought they saved any and all, as required in case there is a defense ? I suspect some “meddling” by Boulder Public officials ( that includes member or members of City Council, City Manager and/or City Attorney as evidenced by the reckless and defamatory Press release ), so I ask, request, that you fish for all “documents” other than that I have described as getting *.
3383 Madison Avenue #W225
On Oct 14, 2011, at 12:07 PM, North, Sandy wrote:
C I T Y O F B O U L D E R, C O L O R A D O
Office of the City Manager
Post Office Box 791
Boulder, Colorado 80306
Telephone (303) 441-3059
Facsimile (303) 441-4925
Recipient: Seth Brigham
E-mail reply only: Sethbrigham@gmail.com
Re: Open Records Request: duplication of all the documents, photographs, interview of witnesses, everything and anything related to my arrest on June 3rd, 2011, case/ report 11-6851
Dear Mr. Brigham,
The City of Boulder has received your open records request, pursuant to C.R.S. 24-72-201. This request was received in the office of Central Records on October 13, 2011 at 12:14 PM.
The City’s policy on open records requests is to assess a reasonable charge for research, retrieval and copying of records to allow recovery of the value of a portion of staff time required to respond to open records requests. An estimate of the cost of this request will follow and compiling of the requested information will begin as soon as we receive payment. Because this request is considered voluminous in the amount of time required, you have the opportunity to review your request and determine if you would like to revise, redefine, and narrow the scope of your request.
The city can provide only public records that are not privileged and documents that already exist. The city does not have the resources to compile information in all forms requested, but will provide the records only in the form maintained by the city. Common privileges for documents include and are not limited to attorney/client work-product. Work product and drafts which are advisory or deliberative in nature and which are created for the benefit of elected officials are not public records. Furthermore, documents where release is contrary to the public interest may be withheld in accordance with the Colorado Open Records Act, C.R.S. 24-72-201, et seq.
An additional per page fee for copying may be assessed at .25 for a letter size black and white copy, and payment for the copies is required prior to pick up.
To: North, Sandy
Cc: Council; Brautigam, Jane; Urie, Heath; Erica Meltzer; Pamela White; Jefferson Dodge; Christopher Dodd; David Lane; email@example.com golden; Philip M Bienvenu; Smoke, Rob; Jann Scott; OpenForum; Erika Stutzman; Michael Roberts
Subject: Open records request for all documents, duplication of materials related to Police report/ case 11-6851
Dear City of Boulder Records,
I am requesting a duplication of all the documents, photographs,
interview of witnesses, everything and anything related to my arrest
on June 3rd, 2011, case/ report 11-6851 …
I am requesting anything pertaining to the case, other than the police
report itself, from the Boulder Police Department, The City of Boulder
and any public officials who may have become involved in any way,
shape or manner.
I have previously agreed to a deferred prosecution, which means that
the case is not pending, and I am considered innocent until proven
There is no trial set. And, if there were, I would have the right to
these materials, evidence. If the charges were dropped, I would still
have that right.
Under law, the person, I, Seth Brigham, to whom the records pertain
has the right to obtain the records.
A criminal justice record means any writing made, any materials,
evidence, maintained, or kept by a criminal justice agency.
I believe this also goes for Boulder City Government.
It is my suspicion that public officials may have intervened in my
case and their may be communications between the parties; Boulder
Police department, City Attorney, City manager, City Council member(s)
that may have “prejudiced” my case,
as a Press release was released by the City attorney with consent from
The City manager and /or other public officials immediately after I
agreed to a deferred prosecution.
I had no idea there was a vendetta against me, retribution for finding
the City of Boulder at fault in another arrest of myself, Seth Brigham.
I believe charges would have been dropped had I not been Seth Brigham.
Review the Police report and you will see what a weak case the
Records of official actions must be disclosed by the criminal justice
agencies when requested. I believe the same goes for The City of
Boulder and Boulder public officials.
It is a basic right. And, one would wonder why our fair city would
deny me this right except that they are covering up their own
So, what is the City of Boulder and the Boulder Police department
afraid of. They have already convicted me in the press.
Do I not have the right to the information needed to clear my name and
show that wrongdoing by the Boulder police department; false arrest
and infringement on my right to free speech.
Does the city have a right to cover their “tracks” in fear that they
will be sued??? The City Attorney refused to back off his statement
which was filled with lies and slander and now he is afraid that the
evidence will show otherwise.
Is this open government in action in Boulder? I think not.
3383 Madison Avenue #W225
City staff recommends that voters be asked to support a local power utility
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam and a city staff team analyzing Boulder’s energy future recommended today that City Council ask voters to support the creation of a local power utility so that the city can pursue final costs and continue its rigorous analysis about whether to purchase Xcel Energy’s system.
“I am proud of the solid analysis that has gone into the city’s exploration of its energy supply options so far,” Brautigam said. “The data we have shows that the creation of a local power utility can be accomplished in a financially responsible way. Such a utility would have a unique ability to chart a future that positions Boulder to be a successful leader in both economic and environmental sustainability.”
Brautigam also said she is confident that the process following a vote for municipalization will provide adequate opportunities to address concerns raised by some that the cost of purchasing the system from the current provider, Xcel, could exceed current estimates.
A positive vote is required before the city can enter into acquisition negotiations and/or condemnation proceedings. During this process, the city would determine what the final price would be. If the costs of buying Xcel’s system turned out to be significantly higher than anticipated or would result in rate increases that were unacceptable to the community, council would be under no obligation to issue the bonds necessary to pay for buying the system and launching a utility. The city could then re-consider how to proceed.
“There are off-ramps in place that allow the city to move forward with its eyes wide open,” the city manager said. “Our community has spelled out both its goals and its expectations. City staff and elected officials take the responsibility of balancing these very seriously.”
The recommendation follows more than two years of discussions about whether to enter into another 20-year franchise agreement with Xcel Energy. In 2010, City Council rejected that option, determining that a business-as-usual contract for two decades was too long and would limit Boulder’s ability to take advantage of exciting changes in the energy industry. Since then, the city and the community have been involved in an intensive study and discussion of other options.
The Boulder community has set clear energy future goals. These include cleaner energy, with as much local generation as possible; reliability; rate stability and more local decision-making and control.
The city hired industry specialists to conduct a detailed financial assessment of the possible creation of a local utility. They have concluded that Boulder could buy the system from Xcel, pay off the debt associated with those costs, start a utility and operate it reliably while still making money. The local utility would be able to keep customers rates lower or equal to what they would be under Xcel, maintain emergency reserves and still have a net present value of $112 million over 10 years. The cost model developed by the consultants has some room for increased costs. This flexibility is spelled out in more detail in a staff memo to council.
The staff recommendation also includes support for an increase and extension of the Climate Action Plan tax. While a locally owned power utility would cover its costs entirely through its revenues once it was up and running, the city would need additional money to cover engineering and legal expenses before that time. It is estimated that the city would need about $1 million a year for three to five years before a final determination could be made about whether to issue bonds to buy Xcel’s system. This funding mechanism would allow the city to continue this process without impacting existing programs and services.
City Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, July 19, starting at 5 p.m., to discuss items for the November ballot. The full memo and other valuable information about the energy future project are available at http://www.boulderenergyfuture.com. There is also a comment form on this website if community members wish to give input to the staff team and City Council.
After much soul-searching, during which I successfully determined that I am in fact NOT a rattan patio furniture ensemble,
I have concluded that I shall indeed attempt a third run at the office of Boulder city council.
My platform in brief:
1) I want the city to address issues of poverty and homelessness in Boulder. The solutions may be temporary,
and certainly they may be controversial; however, based on the risks and problems associated with homelessness
that affect everyone in Boulder, I want to raise the level of priority a very big notch.
Although I may sound like a bleeding-heart, some of the solutions
I have in mind are hard-headed and practical.
For instance I support a “wet” detox facility as a utilitarian way of temporarily sheltering an individual who is drunk and
presents a potential harm to themselves or others.
That is a “get tough” approach; however, at the same time, I think we have to greatly increase options
for everyday people who simply have no funds and do need shelter.
2) I want to balance the city budget without further taxes. I want job reallocation for all city departments;
but specifically, I want to change the structure and culture of waste that many have found prevalent. The city does not
need multiple high-salaried attorneys working on keeping a burger joint from serving beer after midnight, or other cases
that put the entire city government in the role of an over-zealous nanny. I’m for cutting our city attorney’s office down to the bare
bones and having paralegals (at obviously lower cost) pick up the drudge work (of monitoring marijuana license applications, as a for instance.)
The excess funds derived from those applications should be turned over to the People’s Clinic, or some other non-profit resource,
not used to increase the mass and weight of our legal staff. Likewise, planning department work should be shared among interns and first-level
workers, with reductions in expensive senior-level staff. Yes; our current council is scared-to-death of this type of restructuring,
but when they turn to tax initiatives over the more basic assumption of responsibility, a change is desperately needed.
3) I want to get dog poop off the sidewalks. Period. If your neighbor doesn’t pick up after their dog, you should be able
to dial a number and get a real response from someone capable of issuing that neighbor a ticket that day. Furthermore,
I want a scale of increasing fines for repeat offenders to pay for the program. I’m tired of seeing dog poop in more
locations than a ‘Ken Wilson for Council’ yard sign. Both are equally repugnant.
4) While I do not particularly support Xcel as an energy provider, I don’t support a ham-fisted attempt to municipalize
the city’s energy infrastructure with a bond issue that will cause everyone who has paid for that infrastructure — across decades–
to effectively pay for it all over again.
5) I may be slightly hampered with my campaign; I received an injury to my cervical vertebrae in February while shopping at Whole Foods,
and am on restricted activity. (In spite of being a loyal customer since the day of their opening, Whole Foods is so far paying precisely
none of the cost of my physical recovery; which reminds me of one more platform item, the need for an effective “office of consumer affairs”
in Boulder, to handle complaints of common negligence by retail establishments in Boulder, or other issues involving consumer spending
and consumer affairs. I would ask that the cost of this office be subtracted from the budget of our city attorney.)
Top Reasons to Dump the Current City Council
The lead letter today was from Andrew Johnson, noted 17th President of the United States, not to mention a Boulder cyclist annoyed that the city would install its expensive new bike-share program rack in a spot that displaces the horseshoe bike rack he tends to use for his own bike. Selfish Andrew! He doesn’t like the bike share program!
Me neither! Firstly, the city ignored all the good advice it got and decided to simply duplicate the Denver program, which already solidly indicates itself a failure. The numbers don’t lie…the average mileage per bike for the first year of the Denver program was around 200 miles of total use. Prove me wrong, but there are plenty of personal commuter bikes in Boulder that see that much mileage in a week, and many more that would at least cover that figure in a month. A public bike open to unlimited numbers of users that only racks up 200 miles in a year is the emblem of an unsuccessful bike share program. And why would it be?
Expense for one, compounded by the fact that the bike share racks only take one kind of bicycle. In other words no manufacturer or distributor or retailer or owner of a perfectly good bike can donate their bike to the program. Instead, it looks slick…and the bikes cost; meaning the rides cost.
The city council was impervious to feedback prior to implementation.
A typical raw deal for Boulder.
The city budget’s devilish details…
Firstly, there’s an underlying twist to the city’s management philosophy based on a “non-information age” understanding of the work done by city staff. Typically, Boulder’s various city departments are managed by multiple individuals earning salaries above 100k per year. Our city clerk costs almost as much as the city manager…even though she’s a clerk, not a manager.
The philosophy here is that people be rewarded for some combination of term of service and level of education. To qualify to be either a “city clerk” or a “city manager” you need at least a master’s degree in urban planning or management or its equivalent, plus have “x” years of job experience.
This sounds great in principle, except that it’s based on a lousy set of presumptions. The tools and know-how for “running” the city are not so inaccessible as to make the task of having obtained those tools an accomplishment entitling the bearer of said accomplishment to a salary that may be 3 times what is required to find a person knowledgeable enough to do the job correctly.
In other words, the salaries don’t match the market value of the jobs.
As far as I’m concerned, during the course of this campaign you will never hear a simpler and more sane description of the problem with our city government as I’ve expressed in the prior sentence; however, I’ll add some qualifications:
A city attorney might cost more than a third of what they’re paid by the City of Boulder, but I doubt that it’s more than half of what our current city attorney earns. In spite of the speculative nature of this comment, you can look up cities where the budget allows for a city attorney…making about half what our city attorney earns.
In fact, there are cities all over the map that have city attorneys that earn half, or somewhere between half and the salary currently provided to Boulder’s city attorney, more than suggestive of the idea that the value of the job has to be re-analyzed and that the job itself be reallocated to an individual willing to work for say…$80k per year instead of $150k. The fact that the city attorney’s office last year invested a fortune defending someone’s desire to stop a hamburger joint from selling beer might also be an indicator of the need for reflection on city attorney pay scales, but I personally consider that another issue entirely.
Another proposal: no salary paid by the city be equal to more than the equivalent of 2 FTE’s (full-time job equivalencies) as reflected by the lowest salaries in a department. There may be room for compromise, but I will never believe that we could not find 4 very qualified individuals capable of collectively equaling the quality of work done by the person serving as city manager who takes in 4 times the lowest FTE salary in her department.
I believe that much of what I’m saying is self-evident. Politically challenging? Yes.
However…in this day and age, if the city is hiring employees who are only one-fourth as valuable as someone stuck in the city manager’s position, then the city either doesn’t need those employees or doesn’t need a city manager earning a small fortune, take your pick.
Beyond performance ratings and personnel issues of one type or another, an across-the-board salary reduction for city staff should not hurt performance, and might very well help it, by routing out individuals who feel they are better suited for private employment. Salary reductions can take various forms, but would almost undoubtedly be best served by “reallocations” of work. In other words, jobs are redefined with lower pay scales and are then offered first to the individual already performing similar work. In other words, you can lose the 100k salary, but still have a decent salary doing roughly the same job — if that’s what you want.
The goal, in part, would be to bring the lowest-paid worker much closer to the salary level of the highest paid worker, and also…take the stress off the city’s budget enough to stop the constant begging for new taxes by staff and council…
and the subtle extortion this usually entails when the city manager says, “either the tax passes or we’ll just have to cut library hours.”
NO THANKS on the library hours cut, I’d rather cut your pay…and by the way, if that’s a problem, don’t
let the screen door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Like many cities, a decade of stagnating revenues and material cost escalation has resulted in a backlog of maintenance projects for Boulder.
The city is following a multi-year plan to finance and complete needed repairs to city facilities, and the city manager today appointed a 16-member community stakeholder group to advise the City Council and staff on priority projects.
“Tough economic times forced the city to defer maintenance in order to provide important community services,” said City Manager Jane Brautigam. “As a result, many of our buildings, parks, roads and other facilities require significant attention to avoid much higher costs later.”
Brautigam explained that the city plans to initiate needed maintenance and repairs over the next several years. The first phase includes using existing city revenue to finance accelerated work to fix significant deficiencies that could pose health and safety risks if left undone. Currently, the city has over $60 million in unfunded significant deficiencies and approximately $150 million in unfunded high-priority projects.
Boulder said it has the funds to finance some of those projects next year without raising taxes. Bonds supported by existing revenues could be issued to pay for up to approximately $60 million in repairs in capital improvement projects.
To help determine which projects should receive immediate attention, Brautigam appointed a 16-member Capital Investment Strategy stakeholder group to advise staff and City Council about how to prioritize maintenance and repair projects.
“This is a community issue that requires input from a cross-section of our city,” said Brautigam. “We’re looking at this project through the perspective of businesspeople, students, parents, renters, homeowners, board and commission members, as well as nonprofit organizations to ensure our priority list reflects community needs.”
The 16-member Capital Investment Strategy stakeholder group will review the projects and advise council on which maintenance and repair efforts should be included in this first phase using existing dollars. It also will make recommendations about how to effectively invest in Boulder’s capital improvement program for the next several years to ensure the city can catch up and sustain a maintenance and improvement program.
The following individuals were appointed to the Capital Investment Strategy Stakeholder group from a pool of nearly 50 applicants:
Natalie (Tally) Costa
Dan King, owner of the Boulder Outlook Hotel & Suites, has agreed to serve as chair of the stakeholder group. For more information about Boulder’s capital improvement program, visit www.bouldercolorado.gov/cip.
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam has approved a flexible rebate application for Boulder-based Covidien for up to $75,000 in rebates. The rebates were authorized for sales and use taxes, and development review and permit related fees.
The flexible rebate program is one of the city’s business incentives, first approved by the City Council in September 2006. The rebate incentive covers a wide range of fees, equipment and construction use taxes
“Covidien would like to thank City Manager Jane Brautigam for approving the rebates for our new innovation center,” said Marta Newhart, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at Covidien. “The new facility will help to foster Covidien’s culture of innovation, accelerate new product time-to-market and will also be used for enhanced staff training and development.”
Covidien (formerly Valleylab) was founded more than 40 years ago in Boulder with a 26-acre campus that serves as headquarters for two Global Business Units: Energy-based Devices and Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions. With more than 1,500 employees, the company manufactures medical devices and supplies, diagnostic imaging agents and produces devices and instruments that provide industry-leading solutions in electrosurgery, vessel sealing and interventional oncology. In September, the Planning Board approved a Site Review Amendment application for Covidien to build a new 66,000 square foot building and a new parking structure.
“The City of Boulder is proud to have been the home of Covidien for more than 40 years,” said City Manager Jane S. Brautigam. “The city is very pleased that Boulder’s second largest private employer plans to expand its Gunbarrel campus to continue to develop and manufacture its innovative, world class medical devices and healthcare products.”
The 2010 flexible rebate program uses social, community, and environmental sustainability guidelines. Companies may choose the guidelines that best fit their company, but they must meet minimum requirements in order to receive the rebate. Covidien has significantly exceeded the minimum community sustainability guidelines. In addition to meeting the guidelines related to average wage, health insurance, diversity support, and non-profit support, Covidien provides housing assistance for relocating employees who are purchasing a home in Boulder. Covidien makes broad efforts to reduce its impact on the environment, from financial assistance for bus passes to becoming a zero waste facility. Also of note, the proposed new Building 7, has been designed to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Funds from the requested rebate will be used for more energy saving features.
Boulder City Council is set to consider a proposed 2011 budget that holds expenditures at 2010 levels. The $230 million city manager recommended budget projects nearly flat revenues and only a 0.05 percent change in city spending.
Council is scheduled to begin studying the city manager’s 2011 recommended budget at its Tuesday, Aug. 24, study session. The study session will be aired live on Channel 8.
According to the city manager, the city is proposing to restructure several programs and to reduce expenses based on a year-long analysis of programs and services, recommendations of citizen advisory boards, and direction from City Council. The combination of budget reductions and the reorganization will result in a net decrease of 19.74 full-time equivalent positions for 2011.
“Although Boulder is in a better financial condition than many of its peer cities, the economic outlook continues to be uncertain,” said City Manager Jane Brautigam. “In response, we’re taking a prudent and strategic approach to the 2011 recommended budget by focusing on achieving greater efficiencies in how services are delivered to the Boulder community. In many cases we have been able to reallocate staff and funding to those areas most likely to achieve community goals, and are reducing duplication of services to hold the line on spending at 2010 levels.”
Brautigam said that financial projections suggest that the national and local economy will realize a slow recovery over the next few years. Boulder’s revenues are projected to increase 0.27 percent over 2010 revenues. She said steps taken by the city over the past few years to close the structural funding gap and its efforts to maximize efficiencies have maintained Boulder’s fiscal position during the recession.
The city plans to continue eliminating service duplications, centralizing administrative functions and scrutinizing vacancies to ensure staffing resources reflect the needs and finances of the city. The 2011 recommended budget continues funding for critical services such as police, fire and human services.
Other significant aspects of the 2011 Recommended Budget include:
Commissioning a Clean Energy Study to evaluate options to achieve Boulder’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. The city’s Clean Energy Team will analyze a range of clean energy technologies and potential investments to determine the best path forward for an energy supply that maximizes renewables while remaining affordable and reliable.
Reallocating code enforcement resources in order to centralize noise and nuisance party enforcement to the Boulder Police Department (BPD), eliminating a vacant staff position and improving continuity of service to the community. This proposal formalizes the arrangement in place since April 2010.
Centralizing the city’s licensing functions under the Finance department to provide one-stop-shopping, employee cross training, and more efficient operations. The licensing of medical marijuana establishments also will be addressed through the organizational restructure.
Continuing the city’s commitment to the Flexible Rebate program, which helps to attract and retain primary employers in Boulder, strengthen the city’s fiscal health, and further Boulder’s leadership in industries such as clean technology, natural and organic foods, digital media and active living. Since its inception in 2007, the money invested in this program has generated over 8.5 times that amount in local economic activity, providing a strong return on investment.
Beginning in 2011, the Police Department will directly provide animal control services to the community, replacing the contracted services currently provided by the Boulder Valley Humane Society.
Allocating one-time funding sources and fund balance dollars to the Capital Improvement Program to maintain and repair city infrastructure as directed by the city’s revised CIP Guiding Principles. Pay-as-you-go financing is a common strategy in capital intensive funds such as the Water Utility funds, the Transportation Fund and the Permanent Parks and Recreation Fund.
The development of the 2011 Recommended Budget focused on ensuring that the City of Boulder has sufficient funds available to maintain basic government services while closing the revenue/expenditure gap identified by Blue Ribbon Commission I and implementing many of the efficiencies recommended by Blue Ribbon Commission Phase II (BRC II). Concurrent with the BRC II analysis and implementing its recommendations, the city adopted a Priority-Based Budgeting (PBB) process to identify core city services and the community goals for its municipal government. PBB is an evolution of the Boulder Business Plan and continues the city’s focus on financial sustainability by addressing critical deficiencies and allocating funds to programs and services that achieve the greatest results.
2011 continues to present some uncertainties for Boulder that may require additional budget reductions. On Nov. 2, voters will decide whether to support several statewide ballot initiatives that could have a significant impact on municipal budgets across the state, including the City of Boulder budget. In addition, City Council will ask Boulder voters to support a $4.1 million utility occupation tax on Xcel Energy to replace the expired franchise fee.
If the utility occupation tax measure fails or if any of the statewide ballot initiatives pass, the city will have to reduce the 2011 budget by at least $4.1 million. As a result, the city’s finance team is working on a contingency budget that will be discussed at the Sept. 28 City Council study session. The meeting will be televised on Channel 8.