2020.12.31 – Year in Review
I can’t believe it’s already been a little over a year since I had the honor of being sworn in to represent Ward IV. I think it’s safe to say 2020 has not been what any of us expected, but that didn’t keep us from getting work done for our community.
Here’s a quick look at some of our biggest wins in 2020 and where we’re headed in 2021.
We’ve put in over 160 council requests on issues ranging from animal disposal to zoning inquiries, held a ward town hall or forum each month, and attended a number of neighborhood organization and HOA meetings over the last year. Because of our community reaching in we have a number of neighborhood traffic calming measures in the works throughout Ward IV, are examining how we can improve accessibility for pedestrians and our neighbors with mobility aids along Yale and Peoria, and are working with the state on how we can best address ongoing issues with HOAs that so many of our neighbors have reached out about. Much of this work will bear fruit in 2021 when traffic calming devices get installed, as we discuss how to fund the accessibility improvements in the Transportation, Airports, and Public Works committee, and as the state legislature gets underway in February.
Campaign Finance Reform
The comprehensive campaign finance reform ordinance originally drafted by Dale Nichols and sponsored by me and Councilmember Johnston passed 7-3 in mid-November, putting into place campaign contribution limits, more frequent reporting, and making it more difficult for independent expenditure committees to coordinate with candidates. While not perfect, this ordinance will curb the influence of moneyed special interests in our elections and will set the standard for other municipalities to follow.
Marketplace Facilitator Agreement
Our Tax and Licensing department was proactive in bringing this policy before council to streamline the city’s online sales tax collection processes. The ordinance didn’t get any attention when it passed, but it has played a substantial role in helping the city weather the COVID crisis from a financial standpoint to the tune of an additional $600K in revenue per month since its adoption this summer. As we recover from COVID this will be a great boon for our city’s bottom line and will likely afford us the opportunity to tackle some other long-standing issues, from housing to roads.
Aurora Housing Survey and Strategy
Over a year in the making, council passed a resolution approving the city’s housing strategy at our last meeting of the year. The survey and resulting strategy confirms what many of us already knew: housing is becoming harder to attain and maintain for too many Aurorans. What’s new is that the city is now recommending bold action, including (but not limited to) fostering the growth of community land trusts and creating a housing trust fund to directly facilitate the construction of housing options that are affordable to our working families. Executing on these items will help stabilize families, contribute to better educational outcomes for our city’s youth, and will bolster our local economy through increased consumer spending as folks become less burdened by the cost of housing.
While we had a productive 2020 there is still much work to be done. Some of the issues I’ll be working on include greening our building code and unified development ordinance in order to protect our environment and ensure we’re building with sustainability in mind (with a special focus on water), continuing to push for housing solutions that serve our working families, continuing work on public safety reforms, and working on governmental reforms including patching our ethics ordinance, supporting the passage of a lobbying ordinance, and pushing for enabling legislation from the state legislature to grant counties and municipalities more local control over housing, elections, and more.
Ward IV Meetings
We have changed the date for our Ward IV town halls to the second Wednesday of each month. Our first meeting of 2021 will be on Wednesday, February 10th at 6:30 PM via Webex and simulcast on Facebook Live. We’ll be joined by Representative Iman Jodeh (HD41) to discuss how the state and city can work together to address issues regarding HOAs and more. You can join the meeting here; password is Ward4.
As always, you can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (text preferred) at 720.634.6927. I wish you all good health and a happy new year!