The April 18 meeting of the Arvada City Council included an update on the city’s financial status, the approval of an intergovernmental agreement between the City of Arvada and the Colorado Department of Transportation pertaining to the removal of homeless camps and updates to the City Code.
Mayor Marc Williams was absent from the meeting and was excused by his fellow councilmembers.
2021 Year End Financial Report
Arvada Director of Finance Brian Archer delivered the 2021 Year End Financial Report, which saw positive revenue, but challenges brought on by inflation and other factors.
“I’m excited to report back to you that we ended the year positive in our revenue. Our expenditures are in line with the budget, but — as you have heard in other presentations this year — that has been getting tighter and tighter. Inflation is front and center and the ability to do what we’ve been doing is getting more expensive,” Archer said.
Archer relayed that the city spent $9 million on patching, milling overlay and concrete for 61 land miles of roads. The city issued 367 building permits — 113 single family detached, 254 duplex and 17 commercial — producing $6.6 million in building revenue for the city.
Archer added that the city usually gets around eight commercial building permits in a fiscal year.
The Arvada Police Department was able to respond to priority 0 or 1 calls in under five minutes with response time improvements in all four sectors, according to Archer.
Additionally, the Arvada’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.4% — below the national level of 3.9% and the state level of 4.2%.
“(Unemployment) is back to levels not seen since 2019. If you remember, in 2019 we came and talked about the ability for businesses in to expand in Arvada was low because they didn’t have the workforce. And I think we’re back there again,” Archer said.
Property tax and sales tax revenues were both up, with sales tax rising in large part due to the rise of electronic shopping, which was the third highest source of sales tax revenue.
“We had a good financial year from a revenue perspective. We are certainly feeling the pressure — just like everybody else — from an inflationary period of time,” Archer concluded.
Councilmember John Marriott asked if the city’s fiscal plan accounted for increased inflation, and while Archer said it did, he added that the city would be working on updated models that include a higher inflation rate to reflect current trends.
“Inflation helps us on the revenue side but hurts us on the expenditure side,” Marriott said.
IGA with CDOT
Council unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation that will allow CDOT authorities to remove homeless camps on CDOT properties. The IGA includes a provision requiring the city to notify campers 10 days in advance of a camp’s removal and CDOT will reimburse up to $5,000 per cleanup.
Denver and Adams County have entered into similar IGA’s, according to Arvada City Manager Mark Deven. Deven said that the IGA will reduce the load on the APD’s community outreach response and CORE teams, which currently deal with unauthorized encampments within city limits.
“The timely cleanup of these encampments is critical to not only helping CDOT control their property, but also, if you leave these encampments in place and don’t address them, they will expand. By being able to go in and address these encampments quickly, we’re able to control our costs, be able to deal with them in a responsible manner,” Deven said.
Deven added the city team estimates that there will be no fiscal cost to the city as a result of the IGA, since CDOT will reimburse up to $5,000 and the involved organizations are hoping to clean up the encampments before they grow and thus become more costly to remove.
Councilmember Bob Fifer endorsed the IGA as a tool for managing the city’s homeless situation.
“I think it’s a good collaboration and it’s something that’s dire… I think it’s a huge win for us in the ability to manage the situation,” Fifer said.
The resolution authorizing the IGA passed unanimously with a 6-0 vote.
City Code amendments
City council unanimously approved three amendments to the City Code, chiefly pertaining to the handling cases usually heard by the Board of Adjustment. All proposed amendments passed 6-0.
Since the new Land Development Code was adopted 24 months ago, only one case has qualified to be heard by the BOA. The amendment will allow Arvada’s planning commission to sit as the Board of Adjustment, similar to how council can sit as the city’s Housing Authority.
Deven said that the amendment doesn’t eliminate the BOA, but rather cleans up how relevant cases can be handled.
Another amendment to the City Code recognizes Juneteenth — June 19 — as an officially recognized holiday by the city. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.
“We believe it supports the historical and current significance of Juneteenth. We also believe it supports and acknowledges and encourages our team members to observe the holiday and celebrate our inclusive culture. And we also believe it helps to meet our total compensation philosophy since approving this holiday would make us competitive with other cities in the region,” Deven said.