2021.04.30 – Month in Review
Hello everyone! I hope you’re staying healthy and doing well. April is in the books, and here’s a quick look back at some of what we worked on.
Stampede COVID-19 Clinic
We had our largest equity clinic yet on Saturday, April 3rd where we served over 900 people in one day! We have our second dose clinic tomorrow, May 1st, to wrap up the Stampede mass vaccination events. The City of Aurora has begun hosting drive-up/walk-up mass vaccination events every weekend at the Aurora Municipal Center (15151 E Alameda Parkway, Aurora CO 80012) until further notice.
You can find more information on these events and register for your vaccine at auroragov.org/vaccine.
Public Banking Update
We finally heard back from Commissioner Ken Boldt with DORA’s Division of Banking, and they said they would consider a banking charter application from a municipality as nothing in state law or the constitution prohibits it. When I brought this to Management and Finance last year, I stated there were two steps in the exploratory process – can we, and should we? Since we now know we can get a charter if we meet the requirements, the next step is to determine if it’s feasible for us to do so.
I will be bringing forward an ask to put $150K towards a request for proposal to hire a firm with public finance and banking expertise to examine the feasibility of a TABOR enterprise public bank that would operate similarly to the Bank of North Dakota. Under this kind of model, a Bank of Aurora would partner with local banks and credit unions to extend their lending capacity, allow the city and its other enterprises to refinance public debts at much lower interest rates, incentivize investment in areas that big banks are not interested in delving into but are desperately needed such as affordable housing, and contribute a portion of revenues into the city’s general fund to bolster our ability to meet the public’s needs.
I’ll be talking about this initiative in more detail in the weeks to come, so stay tuned! I hope you will all be as excited about the possibilities as I am.
Spring Budget Workshop
We had a fairly lively budget workshop and discussed the upcoming $73M in American Recovery Act funds coming our way, how to get a handle on our deferred maintenance backlog and ongoing road maintenance deficit, and how we wanted to allocate approximately $9M in budget surplus compared to our initial COVID-19 projections.
We agreed to reserve $5M of the $9M to fill a potential gap in the funding for the I-70 and Piccadilly Interchange, which is a keystone infrastructure project that will spur more commercial and industrial activity in that part of the city. Of the remaining $4M, had consensus around putting $400K as a public match towards a $2M DRCOG grant to improve pedestrian safety in Ward 1, $100K towards creating a Restorative Justice program, $7K towards safety kits and self-defense for our Asian American Pacific Islander community in partnership with the Asian Pacific Development Center, funding a chase drain installation for a neighborhood in Ward VI, and $480K towards sidewalk completion along S Peoria south of E Yale avenue in Ward IV.
I am appreciate of my colleagues’ support to ensure that folks in Ward IV are able to get to The Point in a safe fashion that is also accessible for folks who rely on mobility aides.
Burn Restrictions Rolled Back
As of this morning Aurora Fire Rescue has rolled back burn restrictions to stage 1! This means backyard gatherings are back on the menu, just in time for the warm weather until we get some more rain on Monday. Let’s hope we keep a steady stream of moisture coming in so our fire season isn’t as brutal as last year’s!
May Ward IV Meeting
Our next Ward IV meeting will be on Wednesday, May 12th at 6:30 PM on WebEx and simulcast on Facebook Live. We’ll be joined by Greg Hays, Aurora’s Budget Officer, for a presentation on the city’s 2021 budget. Afterward we’ll be joined by Lana Dalton, the city’s Homelessness Program Manager, for an update on safe camping sites and other initiatives the city is exploring. As usual, we’ll close out with open Q/A.
We will not be meeting in June as I will be in Carmel, Indiana for the International Making Cities Livable conference. This was a conference I was extremely excited to go last year that ended up getting canceled due to COVID. The subject matter is highly relevant to Aurora and I am ecstatic that they put it back on this year with the same topic! I will be putting together a report back on the conference with hopes of getting feedback from Ward IV residents at our next meeting.
As always, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720.634.6927 (text preferred). I hope you and yours are staying safe, healthy, and are looking forward to the summer.