Adams County, Colorado

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Adams County is one of 64 counties in Colorado. The county seat is Brighton.

Website evaluation

Transparency Grade
Budget Y
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Elected Officials
Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Public records Y
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Local taxes Y
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Transparency grading process

Main article:Evaluation of Colorado county websites

Last rated on an unknown date.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 3 years.[1]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[2]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[3]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 6 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 6 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting video is available.[4]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2008 are available.[5]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[6]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[7]
  • Public Records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the city clerk. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[8][9]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[10][11]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[12]
  • Lobbying
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[15]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[16]

Elected Officials

Board of Commissioners

Adams County is governed by a three-member Board of Commissioners.

Road Building Irregularities

Only a few days before Commissioner Alice J. Nichol was sworn in, her mother received a check for $390,000 as payment for a strip of land she owned[17]. A Denver Post investigation revealed that the payment was $150,000 more than what Nichol's mother's assessor claimed the property was valued. The transfer of funds was also performed days before the Commission had a chance to approve it.

Administrative Officials

Adams County has several departments that are in charge of implementing the ordinances and bylaws of the board of commissioners. At the head of these departments is the County Administrator, who is in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operation of the county. The current Adams County administrator is Jim Robinson. Information about other departments is accessible through his page on the Adams County website. Robinson, the former county attorney, is best known for claiming that neither he nor his 16-person legal department knew basic state procurement laws when confronted by the media regarding millions of dollars of rigged contracts to Quality Paving. [1][18]


The budget for Adams County for the year 2011 will be $447,883,473, a 7.6% decrease from the prior year[19].

2012 Consolidated Expenditures (Compared with 2011)[20]
Consolidated Expenditures 2012 Prelim Budget 2011 Original Budget Increase Decrease
Base Expenditures
Personnel 129,577,537 131,475,279 (1,897,742) -1.5%
O&M/Charges for Services 245,907,557 240,679,012 5,228,545 2.1%
Governmental Services 13,955,267 14,135,611 (180,344) -1.3%
Debt Service 30,124,428 29,190,057 934,371 3.1%
Transfers Out 13,826,926 13,700,731 126,195 0.9%
Total Base Expenditures 433,391,715 429,180,690 4,211,025 1.0%
Capital and O&M 24,627,012 18,702,783 5,924,229 24.1%
Total Non-Recurring 24,627,012 18,702,783 5,924,229 24.1%
Total Expenditures 458,018,727 447,883,473 10,135,254 2.2%


Main article:Colorado government sector lobbying

Adams County has reported $490,015 spent on lobbying since 2000 (see table).

  • In each of the last ten years Adams County has hired the firm of Marshall A Brachman LLC to lobby on their behalf.[21]
  • In their 2009 first quarter report, Marshall A Brachman LLC reported $15,000 lobbying for DERA funding for Rocky Mountain Arsenal and TTHUD funding for railroad grade separation.[22]
Reported lobbying expenditures, 2000-2009[23]
Year Amount spent on lobbying
2009 $15,000
2008 $60,000
2007 $60,000
2006 $60,000
2005 $60,000
2004 $40,000
2003 $40,000
2002 $50,000
2001 $60,000
2000 $60,000

Public Records and Transparency

Colorado citizens are guaranteed access to public records through the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA). Citizens can submit records requests and governments are required to respond within three business days. If the record is available electronically, it will be provided. If a hard copy is required, the citizen must pay $.25 per page.[24] The citizen must also pay compensation for research and work of the clerk.

Hal Warren, the county attorney, has repeatedly refused to provide public access to certain public records, including the employment agreement of county administrator Jim Robinson, purchasing department policies, and e-mail records of employees with regard to the redirection of a contract in 2009.

Emergency Personnel

The main form of emergency service in Adams County is through the Sheriff's office. It employs 533 employees, most of which are full time.


Federally funded high-speed Internet

A $12.1 million check from the federal government for wireless high-speed Internet access is affecting two thousand first responders in Adams County.

Those benefiting from the federal stimulus dollars include police officers, firemen and paramedics in Adams County and at Denver International Airport. The financial windfall, announced by Gov. Bill Ritter on Monday, will be given to the Adams County Communications Center for the enhanced web access.

"The Recovery Act is helping emergency responders to use advanced communications technology to improve response times and overall public safety across Adams County, nearby communities and at DIA,” said Ritter.

The Adams County Communications Center project will use the money to build out a 4G cellular data network for emergency responders. Emergency 911 call centers, municipal governments, and school districts in Adams and Jefferson counties, Commerce City, Brighton, Thornton, Northglenn and several nearby unincorporated areas will also benefit.

The total cost for the program is $18 million. The Adams County E-911 Emergency Telephone Authority and Denver International Airport, which have provided fiber optic cable, broadcast towers and staffing, are bridging the gap between the federal dollars and the total cost is $5.9 million.

Rep. Ed Casso, D-Commerce City, said that the faster connection will be a boon to his district, particularly to the rural areas. However, he is somewhat wary of relying too much on federal money.

“We need to be careful anytime we’re using stimulus money because the money will dry up, but it’s a great first step in expanding the wireless footprint,” said Casso. “Many parts of Adams County are unincorporated or rural, and extending this to them as well is a real good thing.”[25]

External links


  1. Adams County, Budgets, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  2. Adams County, Staff Directory, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  3. Adams County, Elected Officials, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  4. Adams County, Meetings, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  5. Adams County, Audits, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  6. ] Adams County, Bids, Accessed: January 6, 2013]
  7. Adams County, Contracts, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  8. Adams County, City Clerk, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  9. Adams County, Open Records, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  10. Adams County, Tax FAQ, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  11. Adams County, Fees and Taxes, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  12. Adams County, Pay Taxes, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  13. Adams County, Adams County, Membership Dues, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  14. Adams County, Lobbying, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  15. Adams County, Zoning Ordinances, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  16. Adams County, Permits, Accessed: January 6, 2013
  17. Denver Post Adams County road-widening project paved with irregularities Feb. 27, 2011
  18. County Administrator
  19. 2011 Budget (dead link)
  20. [Adams County, Colorado 2012 Preliminary Budget. Page 26]
  21. Open Secrets - Marshall A Brachman LLC
  22. 2009 First Quarter Lobbying Report
  23. Open Secrets
  24. Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) Division of Information Technologies
  25. "Federal grant nudges Adams Co. responders into the Net’s fast lane," Colorado News Agency, September 28th, 2010