Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Full Text of the Brighton "State of the City 2010"


Thank you Jan for that nice introduction and warm welcome. Before I begin, I’d like to give Jan a round of applause for her dedication and service to the City of Brighton. She has certainly paved the way for this great city as our first female mayor for the past 8 years.

As new Mayor, it is my pleasure to present this year’s State of the City address. I’m honored to be hosting this year’s event at the newly renovated Armory. Having opened just this past October, they have already hosted 49 events, with over 4,500 people having passed through these doors. Having a facility of this nature has truly been an asset for the community and isn’t it great to be here this evening.

The theme of this message is “Bridge: Building on our accomplishments and creating new ones as we cross over to the next decade.”

Building a bridge is truly a team effort. It takes many people, a lot of planning, and plenty of challenges along the way. As your new Mayor, I don’t plan on doing much of anything. However, WE as a council (a team) are going to do a lot!

We are going to build on what has been accomplished in the past, and focus on the policies and activities that will prepare us for the future. We will build a bridge together with one destination in mind, crossing over to the next level of achievements and improvements for the community.

As stated before, I cannot do this myself, nor would I want to. Your City Council has committed to study all aspects of each decision that is made, listen to citizen concerns, and provide the leadership that will keep Brighton moving in a positive direction.

Public service often involves sacrificing family time. And I would like to take this opportunity to introduce each individual on this council who has made the commitment to serve and give them the opportunity to present their family members.

Councilmember from Ward III and Mayor Pro Tem, Wayne Scott
Councilmember from Ward I, Terry Moore
Councilmember from Ward I, Chris Mazlanick
Councilmember from Ward II, Cynthia Martinez
Councilmember from Ward II, Rex Bell
Councilmember from Ward III, Rob Farina (is out of town on business/vacation)
Councilmember from Ward IV, Daryl Meyers
Councilmember from Ward IV, Wilma Rose

Now, I would like to recognize the support of my own family.

Now let’s all recognize and welcome the State, County and local dignitaries whose very presence this evening indicates their commitment to the larger good. Please hold your applause until I’ve introduced each group.

Adams County Elected Officials
RTD Board of Directors
District 27J School Board
Local Senators
Local Representatives
Adams County Commissioners
Weld County Commissioners
Greater Brighton Fire District Board of Directors
Chief Justice of the 7th Judicial District, Vincent Phelps

On behalf of the City Council, we thank you for your public service.

Now let’s all recognize those that volunteer their time on our various Boards and Commissions. Again, please hold your applause until the end. Would members and staff please stand as I call your Board. They are:

Board of Adjustment
Brighton Urban Renewal Authority
Cultural Arts Commission
Economic Development Board
Historic Preservation Commission
Legacy Foundation
Liquor Licensing Authority
Planning Commission
Parks and Recreation Board
Senior Center Board
Youth Commission

We truly appreciate the countless hours of dedication you provide to this great city.

I would also like to recognize the Downtown Partnership and the heART of Brighton. Would members and staff of these two groups please stand.

And last, but definitely not least, I’d like to introduce the future leaders of our community. Students from several local schools are joining us this evening. Students, please stand as I call your name…and again, please hold your applause until the end.

Thank you to everyone that is in attendance this evening. It’s your turn to stand because without you, we wouldn’t be here.

Working together, the City Council, city staff and Brighton citizens, will build a bridge from the successes and challenges of the last decade for the common good of Brighton’s future.

We are finding new efficiencies, tracking successes and planning that bridge for the future of Brighton. Cooperation and a collaborative spirit have allowed Brighton to realize many improvements. The Brighton Armory, as mentioned earlier, long empty and unsightly, saw a Renaissance and is now a great facility for cultural and learning opportunities. It shares parking spaces with the new Library. These two facilities have been major pieces of the puzzle that have been missing in the core of our city and we are so proud to see their completion. These beautiful, state of the art facilities offer countless resources and activities for our residents.

We’ve seen the opening of many other facilities around the city, including Hampton Inn on Platte River Boulevard; the Holiday Inn Express, JCPenney, McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Buffalo Wild Wings at Prairie Center; Pinocchio’s Restaurant; the Kiddie Academy; the Kum & Go; the Brighton co-op Credit Union on Kuner Road; and the addition of 12 court rooms to the Adams County Justice Center Courthouse.

In addition, the city was able to work with State and Weld County officials for the new Vestas facility; that will bring approximately 2,000 jobs to our city.

We know that in order to continue to attract new activity, we must build City Hall into a friendly place to do business. Our priority is making it easy and possible to get informed and stay informed. The city is cutting the red tape and acting as a bridge to get our customers the service they need. We’re searching for ways to reduce fees and streamline processes.

These are hard times and citizens need strong support from their local government. We have dedicated staff, working hard to create a strong customer service focus. The one-stop center is a single-point contact for walk-in customers through our application process, with assistance every step of the way. We’ve seen over 700 permits issued and over 3,000 inspections. We are rolling out the new Innoprise software system that will allow savings of time and money for our customers and staff.

We are offering fee deferral and lowering our impact fees. We have economic development incentive programs. Everything possible is being done to ensure that we are competitive and fair in every way.

We applaud our staff for their hard work, commitment and diligence. Our City Manager Manuel Esquibel “The Boss” is leading us over the bridge.

We’ll continue to embrace Brighton’s roots as an agricultural hub and protect its historical integrity. At the same time, we will roll out the welcome mat to ensure that we reward those who bring new jobs and new sources of revenue to our city. We will not ignore the many long-standing businesses, small and large, who have made Brighton their home for many years. The Small Business Resource Center is rolling out new educational opportunities and support to help sustain the businesses that have been the backbone of our community.

Brighton is a rapidly growing city, there is no doubt. Business Week named Brighton “Colorado’s Biggest Boom Town.” This was further highlighted in 5280 Magazine in their article last June titled “Brighton’s Boom.” However, we are not exempt from the economic conditions that the nation has been facing. Yes, we’ve been blessed with the opening of many new businesses, but they too are affected by the economy and have not been able to sustain themselves. Unfortunately, this affects the revenue stream for the city. We are in tough financial times.
One of the goals of this City Council is to establish policies to address maintaining a balanced budget. We must look at the issues we face today and in the future to position our city in a positive and competitive manner. Crossing the bridge as we face these challenges will not be easy.

Overseeing our Finance Department is Finance Director Bernadette Kimmey “Miss Money Penny”

Bernadette, we appreciate all that you do managing our annual budgets and investments, especially during these tough times.

As a community, if there is one thing we can do to make our dollars work, it is to shop locally. Shopping locally benefits the entire community. It keeps local dollars here, funding important services. It keeps businesses here, provides jobs and benefits our schools and nonprofits. Sales tax revenues go directly toward essential programs and services like public safety. Tonight, as you leave, be sure to grab a reusable shopping bag. We encourage you to shop in Brighton and while you’re shopping, buy a few extra items and donate them to His Hands Ministry or St. Augustine’s Food Pantry.

In order to cross the bridge to the next decade, it is important to see where we’ve been and what we’ve achieved.

The Brighton Urban Renewal Authority is committed to sustaining an inclusive downtown. Consisting of a diverse group of business, community and educational leaders, their focus is the improvement of existing structures, the attraction of new commercial and mixed-use development, new residential development, and the prevention of deterioration of properties within the area.

In August of 2009, the North Brighton Employment Urban Renewal Area was created to accommodate the new Vesta’s Turbine Manufacturer. This area contains just over 244 acres and achieves a primary cooperation of public and private sectors, and utilizes the incentives and tools available from all sources.
BURA projects include:

• The Armory - This historic facility was renovated to accommodate local and regional theater, concerts and exhibits. The heART of Brighton was also very influential by raising funds to furnish and operate the Armory. Renovating this building has preserves a sense of local heritage – it was originally opened in 1922 and is one of only 7 remaining in the State of Colorado. By the way, you can still donate!
• The Brighton Branch Library - The new 20,000 square foot library more than tripled the size of the old library and attracts more than 25,000 visitors per month. Paving the way, the library achieved the silver LEED ( or Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design) status making it the first “carbon positive” library in the United States – meaning it produces more energy than it consumes.
• The Brighton Learning and Resource Campus – This facility has provided access to affordable education, training and healthcare for Brighton citizens. Serving hundreds of adults, families and children, this project is recognized as a state-wide model. Salud Family Health Centers and Community Reach Center provides affordable healthcare and counseling services. It has won several statewide awards.
• The Facade Improvements Project continues to create exterior improvements to the look of downtown. This project has preserved and enhanced downtown buildings, regained the historic character, enhanced property values, and supported local business. In fact, last year, this project won a Governor’s Award for Downtown Excellence by the statewide organization “Downtown Colorado, Inc.”

The Brighton Economic Development Corporation is led by Raymond Gonzales

The Brighton Economic Development Corporation provides leadership and direction in developing, coordinating and implementing economic strategies for the City of Brighton. The Brighton Economic Development Corporation’s top priority is to expand and diversify the local tax base by facilitating the creation of quality job opportunities and by attracting retail development.

The EDC has increased job opportunities through the attraction of companies such as Vestas Wind Systems, and Sierra Detention Systems, which will create over 2,200 new jobs in the immediate future. Over $40 million in new infrastructure improvements have been invested to support economic development. That’s why site selectors and top performing companies continue to look at Brighton as the premier location to do business. The EDC is currently courting 60 prospects for new businesses in the city which would generate many primary jobs in the area. In addition, the EDC is leading a regional effort to attract sustainable manufacturing firms. In 2009, the EDC was the recipient of the Metropolitan Cooperation Award.

The opening of the Small Business Assistance Center affords the Brighton Economic Development Corporation the ability to offer quality counseling for businesses. Since opening in September, they have served over 100 businesses, either start-ups or existing businesses, and over 75 people have taken classes in the center.

The center also assists businesses with a wide range of solutions, including legal matters, financial analysis, marketing strategies, and management development to provide businesses with crucial information that can mean the difference between success and failure.

When local businesses thrive, so does the rest of our community. The EDC in partnership with the Brighton Chamber of Commerce launched the “Shop Brighton” campaign which allowed EDC to inform our community about the benefits of shopping local, the need for local business support and to highlight local shopping, dining and entertainment venues. Our citizens discovered the benefit of shopping in Brighton helps the City provide the amenities they are seeking.

The Community Development Department is lead by Marv Falconburg “Mr. Planner”

The development of many projects throughout the community have been coordinated through this department - development projects such as Vestas, the mixed-use portion of the Prairie Center master planned community, the Adams Crossing Government Center, and the Sable Center (which includes Sierra Detention Systems and the construction headquarters of Bleeker Vigessa).

Community Development also worked hard on:
• A major amendment of the Comprehensive Plan
• Industrial Design Standards
• the Raptor Center relocation to Prairie Center
• Sustainability implementation with permeable pavers at St. Augustine Church
• The Fort Lupton Intergovernmental Agreement
• The North Brighton Employment Opportunity Zone Sub Area Plan (this is the area around Vestas)

Serving as our City Attorney is Margaret Brubaker.

Margaret is an extremely valuable asset for the city and she continues to provide much needed assistance. She keeps us honest and legally on track.

Serving as our Municipal Judge is Barry Glasgow.

Barry was just sworn in a year ago as our Municipal Judge and has done a fine job for the city.

Our Utilities Department is led by Jim Landeck. Jim has several nicknames, however I can’t mention them!

Accomplishments in the Water Distribution System include:
• The beginning of construction on the supplemental water supply pipe from Westminster. That will bring an additional 2,000,000 gallons of water per day.
• Construction of the South Brighton Growth Area Utility, the South Weld Utility, and the Ken Mitchell Lakes Inlet/Outlet Pump House.
• Preventative Well Maintenance, the Brine disposal engineering study and the Greensand Filter Conv. Project (made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).
• The manhole rehabilitation has been a major improvement for the Wastewater System, in addition to the sewer pipe repair program. Crews are working diligently on the infrastructure to keep the system maintained over time.

The Parks and Recreation Department is led by Gary Wardle “Mr. Parks”

Parks and Recreation has been very busy as well, including a hit TV series on NBC! Yes, there is a TV show just about a Parks and Recreation Department. But seriously, this is not Hollywood and we have a very real and very busy department with some major accomplishments, including:

• The acceptance of the Colorado Lottery Starburst award for the Brian Aragon Skate Park.
• Renovations and improvements to the Brighton Youth Sports Complex, Veterans Park, Pheasant Ridge Park and the Water Tower Football Complex.
• Improvements in Memorial Parkway and to the Peach Hallow Open Space.
• The monument on Cabbage was complete.
• The creation of 2 new community garden locations, including the partnership with the Boys and Girls club for a garden at their site.
• Youth Commission members have achieved one of their goals by serving on various boards and commissions.
• The youth were also fortunate this year to attend the National League of Cities Conference in Washington, DC. We are so proud of our youth; for their dedication and hard work.
• Our recreation center had over 146,000 visitors last year. This is 3,400 more than last year. Incredible!
• They hosted the 8th annual fitness center and the 25th annual Turkey Trot 5K, raising $4,500 for the Senior Center.

The Streets and Fleet Department is led by Joe Smith. That’s his real name!

As our community continues to grow, improvements to our infrastructure will continue to be a priority. In 2009:
• The North 19th Avenue shoulder improvements were completed.
• Community Development Block Grants were used to complete handicap accessibility ramps.
• The missing sidewalk replacement program was completed, as well as 25 miles of city street overlays.
• South Weld County Road improvements began and will continue into 2010.
• Cabbage Street improvements were made which included the placement of conduits for United Power and Qwest.
• And not to mention the hard work the crews have been doing to remove ice on our streets. Channel 9 even recognized our efforts, and Joe will be giving autographs out after tonight’s event!

The Police Department is led by Police Chief Clint Blackhurst. Mostly just called “Chief.”

In 2009, the police department:
• Installed cameras to assist with the management of graffiti. This has significantly reduced the amount of graffiti within the city.
• They produced a Public Service Announcement titled “Our Friend, the Stop Sign” airing on Channel 8. This is just the first in a series of educational videos for the community. .
• Training was a big accomplishment this year. Critical Incident Team training was conducted for more police officers to assist them with volatile situations; CERT (or Community Emergency Response Teams) and CPR trainings were continued for our citizens. Four Officers were certified as DARE (or Drug Abuse Resistance Education) instructors, helping youth receive life skills to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs and violence.
• Federal funding was acquired for a full-time Detective Technician.
• Police Explorers came back again with awards from National Conference.
• A $57,000 Federal Grant was obtained for police equipment.
• Code Enforcement Services were successfully integrated.
• Ongoing progress was made for Continuity of Operations through Emergency Management, a joint operation of the Police Department.
• Serious crimes such as assaults, burglaries, sexual offenses, auto thefts and homicides were measurably down. However we still face challenges for general offenses such as robberies, thefts, vandalism and domestic violence, as these were up.

The city’s Information Technology Department is led by Margaret Brocklander, “MIT”

I.T. was presented with many opportunities for growth this past year. Bridging over to the next generation of software took a lot of planning and hard work and I am proud of their accomplishments and look forward to additional innovations they will be working on this year. Key accomplishments include:
• Upgrading the RecTrac system
• Setting up wireless software for the Police Department
• Laptops became available for Building Inspectors and Code Enforcement Officers for efficiency in the field
• The GIS (or Geographic Information Services Division) mapped the way for the future by creating maps for snow plows, emergency medical response, community gardens, park shelters, parades, graffiti, sex offenders, foreclosures and much more.
• Municipal Channel 8 had a very successful year airing the City Council meetings live. They continue to capture video for many city events (including tonight’s event!) and the use of their graphic bulletin board promotes citywide happenings.
• The city’s Facilities and Custodial Services completed renovations for the offices of BURA, HR, Special Events and Housing.

Our Human Resources Department, Office of the City Clerk and Municipal Court are all currently being led by Karen Borkowski. “Smiley”

In the area of Human Resources we continue to value our employees with training, awards, recognition, bilingual pay, and a wellness program.

The Office of the City Clerk managed a successful general election and met an increased demand for Open Records Requests.

The Municipal Court completely revamped their process for summons and complaint forms making the system much more efficient for our community. A gang/graffiti class was also created for juvenile defendants.

We’ve also hired a new Public Information Manager, Jodie Carroll. “New Person”

This new position will assist us with getting information out to the community in a timely fashion.

So as you can see, we had a very busy 2009 and we don’t expect to slow down.

Projects for 2010 include Phase I of a new Adult Recreation Center, the development of an Outdoor Aquatic Park, the completion of the Adams County Government Center. We have applied for a grant that would allow conversion of the old surgical suite at the new Learning and Resource Campus to a simulation training center for nurses and nursing students.

As we cross the bridge to the next decade, we will continue to make Brighton a wonderful place to eat, shop and live, but we need your help, so please volunteer or assist; Get involved.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to serve as your Mayor. Thank you for everything you do to make Brighton a special place. Enjoy the rest of your evening and please help yourself to the refreshments provided in the atrium and don’t forget to grab a shopping bag on your way out. Thank you!

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