2020.08.14 – Weeks in Review

/ August 14, 2020

Hello community! I hope you’re managing to stay well during this strange time we’re all living in. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to over the past several weeks.

Rental Assistance Program

The city has restarted its COVID-19 rental assistance program and has also created some handy infographics for folks who might be in need. If you or someone you know is struggling to keep up with rent due to COVID-19 income loss, please apply for assistance at auroragov.org/rentassist and share this with folks who are in need.

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Minimum Wage Increase

While we’re working to ameliorate COVID-19-related difficulties we are also planning for the future, and part of that includes putting the local wage option to work for our working class. Councilmember Coombs (Ward V) is currently conducting outreach before kicking off a series of stakeholder meetings required by HB-1210 with our business community, non-profit organizations, labor organizations, and Aurorans that don’t fit into those categories. Based on conversations I’ve had with her and other stakeholders, it seems like our business and non-profit community are supportive of an increase, with an ask for smaller wage growth over the next two years to accommodate COVID-related hardship and ramping up after the economy kicks back into gear.

The dollar amount goal and the timeline for reaching it are still in flux and will likely continue to change until the ordinance is through committee. I would like to see Aurora arrive at (or get as close as possible to) a place where working at a minimum meets the requirements to sustain a family of two, with only one adult working, per the MIT Living Wage Calculator. I would also like to see that dollar amount adjusted to increase with the cost of living so that we don’t have to continuously revisit this issue in the future. I’ll be sure to let you know when the public outreach process begins and how you can get involved in the discussion.

Aurora Water Residential Rate Restructuring

Aurora Water is proposing a change to their residential rate structure by adding a new use tier for moderate users and raising rates on heavier users while leaving low users untouched for the next decade. Marshall Brown, Director of Aurora Water, gave a presentation on the rate changes at our last Ward IV town hall. You can find a link to the Facebook Live video of our July Ward IV meeting and Director Brown’s presentation here, and you can find a link to a page on the city’s website which goes over the rate changes (complete with a FAQ) here.

Breed Specific Language

City Council will be discussing our existing breed specific language (BSL), whether we want to make any changes, and if so how we want to go about doing it at our August 17th meeting. We’ve had a large amount of public testimony and feedback on this topic and our upcoming meeting will be the last opportunity to share your thoughts with council before we take formal action on the matter. I understand that this is a controversial topic and I encourage you to call in to our August 17th meeting beginning at 7 PM by dialing 855-695-3475, then pressing *3 to reach the operator. The queue will close when we get to the item during Monday night’s meeting.

RTD Service Reductions and Eliminations

RTD is once again targeting the R-Line, though this time they are looking to eliminate the line in its entirety rather than reduce service. In its place RTD is proposing extending the H-Line up to Peoria Station with less frequent trains north of Florida station. This would adversely impact Aurorans who rely on the light rail for commuting north of Florida station, as well as metro area residents who are trying to access the VA and the CU campus via Colfax. This change would also require a transfer at Southmoor Station for anyone commuting south and from the Denver Tech Center, adding thousands of transfers onto already highly utilized lines and lengthening travel time which may have an adverse effect on ridership.

Prior to COVID-19, the R-Line was the only line experiencing ridership growth, and I feel that it would be damaging to our quality of life, economic development, and roadway congestion to cut the R-Line as it currently exists. This would be especially detrimental to Ward IV as we have 4 of the 9 light rail stations in Aurora and the rail has brought in more housing and other amenities to our community. I encourage you to share your thoughts with RTD project. You can find out more about the Reimagining RTD initiative and how to get involved in the public outreach process here, and you can leave comments on what you would like to see change with RTD here.

Ward IV Town Hall

Our next Ward IV virtual town hall will be on August 20th at 6:30 PM via WebEx and Facebook Live. You can register for the meeting here. We will be having a presentation from Jessica Prosser on the city’s housing strategy and how that intersects with our unhoused neighbors and the looming eviction crisis, as well as a presentation from Jeffrey Moore on the city’s Oil and Gas division and the regulations that are currently being crafted. As always, you’ll have an opportunity for Q/A following each presentation, and we’ll have open Q/A at the end of the meeting where we can discuss whatever you like. I would also like to know what topics you would like to see covered at our September ward meeting, so please send me your requests at the email address below!

As always, you can reach me at jmarcano@auroragov.org or at 720.634.6927 (text preferred). I look forward to speaking with you soon!

In solidarity,

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