In the election that ends Nov. 2, Englewood residents are voting on city council members.
In District 2, northeast Englewood, Chelsea Nunnenkamp is running uncontested for the seat currently held by Linda Olson since 2009. Olson, the current mayor, is term-limited.
Two candidates, Steven Ward and Belinda Porter, are vying for the District 4 seat for southwest Englewood. Dave Cuesta, who was elected that district’s councilmember in 2017, is not running for another term. Porter did not attend the candidates’ forum.
Ward has been serving as an at-large member of the council since March 15, filling the seat vacated earlier that month by John Stone.
A two-year at-large position will also be on the ballot this fall (it is the second half of Stone’s vacated term). Mary Colecchi and Jim Woodward are the candidates for that city council seat. Woodward once served as Englewood’s mayor.
Once elected, the new city council will decide which of its members will serve as mayor and mayor pro tem.
Councilmember Cheryl Wink is running uncontested to keep the at-large seat she has held since 2017. The election is for a four-year term. Wink did not attend the candidates’ forum.
At a gathering of four of the six candidates for Englewood City Council seats, the audience heard praise for the current direction the city is going in, and unopposed District 2 candidate Chelsea Nunnenkamp hoped Englewood would keep its “small-town feel” as its housing density increases.
Not all assessments of Englewood’s climate were positive, with at-large candidate Mary Colecchi saying: “I think we need to be more in tune with the citizens.”
Colecchi also criticized “mandates” without being specific, saying: “Nothing should be mandated.”
Nunnenkamp and current Councilmember Steven Ward, who is running in District 4, touted their experience on the city’s Budget Advisory Committee, a group that discusses city budget issues with Englewood officials and provides city council with the perspective of citizens regarding Englewood’s financial policies. The candidates’ forum took place Oct. 6 at Sacred Grace Englewood church in the city’s downtown area.
Nunnenkamp wants Englewood to bring on more grant writers to pursue more sources of income for the city.
Ward said Englewood’s budget surplus — money the city has left over after spending alloted funding — traditionally has been saved rather than spent. Ward supports a policy where in “lean” years, the city doesn’t spend as much, and in years with surplus, the city can choose to spend more.
Jim Woodward, a former Englewood mayor running against Colecchi, voiced support for affordable housing.
“Affordable housing is out of the range of most people who live in Englewood right now,” Woodward said. “Right now, most people couldn’t buy the homes they’re in — if they’re in homes.”
Colecchi supported finding funding such as grants to “make things more affordable for people” because in terms of the housing market, “Englewood is in trouble like everybody else in the Denver area,” she said.
Businesses need more customers so they can thrive in Englewood, and to fill that need, the city needs more “rooftops,” or more housing development, Nunnenkamp said.
Ward noted the recently formed Englewood Downtown Development Authority, an organization that aims to economically boost the central part of the city, from CityCenter Englewood shopping center to the city’s downtown area to the Swedish hospital district.
He looks forward to “seeing CityCenter pop” as more development occurs there, he said.
Some candidates mentioned the idea of “TIF,” or tax-increment financing, a tool the development authority hopes to use to help finance improvements to the region that Ward mentioned.
Tax-increment financing is based on the idea that the efforts of the downtown authority to reinvest in downtown Englewood will create incremental increases in both sales-tax revenue and property-tax revenue beyond what would otherwise occur without a development authority — spurring economic momentum, according to city officials. Basically, the city expects the efforts to naturally result in more tax revenue due to more economic activity.
It’s unclear when that cycle of investment and revenue gains would put visible changes in motion downtown.
During the current election, which ends Nov. 2, voters in that area will decide on what appears to be a bond measure to borrow money to get the development authority’s plans more fully underway.
See the city's website here for more information on that measure. The video of the forum can be viewed here.
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