Aurora, Colorado

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Aurora is one of the five largest cities in Colorado.

Elections

2015

See also: Aurora, Colorado municipal elections, 2015

The city of Aurora, Colorado will hold elections for mayor and city council on April 7, 2015. A primary will take place on February 24, 2015. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election is December 22, 2014. Five of the ten city council seats are up for election.[1]

Elected Officials

See also: Colorado public pensions


The city of Aurora operates under a council/manager form of government. This means that a city council proposes and enacts legislation, in addition to appointing administrative officials. However, a large part of the city's day-to-day operations are overseen by a council-appointed city manager. The mayor serves as the head of the city council.[2][3]

In Aurora, there are 10 council members. Six are elected by equally proportioned districts. Four are elected at large. The mayor is also elected at-large. The city council positions are part-time.[3]

Current council members are[3]:

  • Steve Hogan, Mayor
  • Sally Mounier, Ward 1
  • Renie Peterson, Ward 2
  • Marsha Berzins, Ward 3
  • Molly Markert, Ward 4
  • Bob Roth, Ward 5
  • Bob Broom, Ward 6
  • Barbara Cleland, At Large
  • Brad Pierce, At Large
  • Debi Hunter Holen, At Large
  • Bob LeGare, At Large

Salaries and pensions

As of 2010, the Aurora City Council were compensated $12,752 per year.[4]

The city of Colorado does not keep public records of public pensions for its government members. However, some estimates have placed pension payments for retired government officials as high as 170% of what the council members made as active members.[5] These estimates are not confirmed.

Administrative Officials

The city of Aurora is largely managed by a city administrator called the city manager. This is a professional who sees to the day-to-day functions of the city. The duties of the city manager, as outlined by the city of Aurora, are[2]:

  • Ensures that the policy direction set by the city council is carried out
  • Sees to it that the city's delivery of public services is of high quality and provided in an efficient and cost-effective manner
  • Prepares a recommended budget for the city council
  • Recruits, hires and supervises city of Aurora staff
  • Provides the city council objective information and recommendations regarding the issues and decisions before the city council.

The current city manager is George "Skip" Noe. He has held the position since 2010.[2]

Under Noe are two deputy managers[2]:

  • Nancy Freed -- Oversees Operations, which includes Library and Cultural Services, Neighborhood Services, Parks, Recreation and Open Space, Water, Planning and Development Services, and Public Works
  • Michelle Wolfe -- Oversees Administrative Services, which includes Public Safety Communications, Management Support, Communications, Finance, Budget, Human Resources (including Fleet and Purchasing) and Information Technology.

and two assistant city managers[2]:

  • Janice Napper -- Aids the City Manager and oversees the City Clerk's Office, Municipal Records, Elections, Internal Audit and Research
  • Roberto Venegas -- Aids the City Manager and oversees Intergovernmental Relations, International Roundtable and Policy

Spending

Sources of Revenue for Aurora, CO[6]
Sources of Funds 2010 Actual 2011 Actual 2012 Actual 2010-2011 Change 2011 - 2012 Change
Sales Tax $123,357,355 $124,899,322 $127,085,060 1.3 % 1.7%
Property Tax 25,096,148 25,611,005 23,955,963 2.1% -6.5%
Franchise Fees/Taxes 13,192,882 13,200,750 13,466,027 0.1% 2.0%
Auto Use Tax 9,043,525 9,746,090 10,038,473 7.8% 3.0%
Highway Users Tax 10,096,150 10,160,324 10,261,928 0.6% 1.0%
Fines & Forfeitures 6,817,968 5,784,440 6,190,000 -15.2% 7.0%
Capital-Related Use Tax 11,767,424 10,724,905 11,860,351 -8.9% 10.6%
Other Operating Reserves 28,073,037 28,182,614 29,179,558 0.4% 3.5%
General Fund Revenue $227,444,489 $228,309,450 $232,037,360 0.4% 1.6%
Transfers and Reserves 31,272,713 2,835,453 2,027,798 -90.9% -28.5%
Total General Fund Sources $258,717,202 $231,144,903 $234,065,158 -10.7% 1.3%
Expenditures for Aurora, CO[6]
Department 2009 Actual 2010 Actual 2011 Original 2011 Projection 2012 Proposed
Operating Expenditures by Category:
Salaries and Benefits 219,552,893 219,005,211 225,829,774 223,269,532 227,932,816
Supplies and Services 103,943,213 104,409,186 111,512,540 119,136,217 116,860,178
Interfund Charges 12,594,322 15,125,882 14,379,492 14,723,689 13,975,665
Debt Related 65,981,189 97,547,789 56,191,790 56,745,281 57,427,803
Capital Related 2,581,007 2,733,278 4,467,231 3,761,795 4,733,425
Transfers Out 41,831,178 64,713,073 26,966,431 26,603,706 28,419,061
Total Operating Expenditures $446,483,802 $503,534,419 $447,245,906 $436,787,016 $448,903,504

Lobbying

Main article:Colorado government sector lobbying

Aurora has reported $680,000 spent lobbying since 2000 (see table).

Reported lobbying expenditures, 2000-2009[7]
Year Amount spent on lobbying
2009 $30,000
2008 $170,000
2007 $160,000
2006 $110,000
2005 $100,000
2004 $160,000
2003 $140,000
2002 $140,000
2001 $80,000
2000 $80,000

Transparency and Public Records

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.[8].

Taxes

Businesses are required to pay certain taxes for the City of Aurora some of these are: [9]:

  • 3.75% Admissions Tax -- sales tax levied upon any charge or fee imposed to gain admission to any place or event open to the public and located in the city[10]
  • 8% Lodger's Tax -- tax levied upon businesses that provide lodging.[11]
  • $2/employee/month Occupational Privilege Tax -- a tax levied upon businesses residing in the city.[12]
  • 3.75% Sales Tax[13]
  • 3.75% Use Tax -- "sales tax that wasn't paid to the vendor."[14]

Website evaluation

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Budget
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Administrative Officials P
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Permits, zoning
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Contracts N
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Transparency grading process

See also: Evaluation of Colorado city websites


The good

  • The budget for 2012 is posted online.[6] as well as budgets for previous years.
  • Meeting minutes and agendas are available on the city's website.[15]
  • Contact information for the city council and mayor are available.[16]
  • Building and Zoning codes are available online.[17]
  • Comprehensive financial summaries are available for the past seven years, until 2010.[18]
  • The city clerk is the keeper of public records. The contact information for the clerk is posted on the city's website.[19]
  • Local tax information is posted in the budget.[6]

The bad

  • The name of the city manager is listed, but the email given is a generic office email.[20]
  • No information is posted on current contracts or bids over $10,000.
  • Information on government sector lobbying is not on the city's website.

External links


References