Fix the structural problem with the budget without negatively affecting safety, health or welfare
For the 2011 budget, this required cutting $2.4 million, approximately 4%, from the 2010 budget. This followed 2 years of rigorous cost-containment measures overseen by the City Manager.
City Council has directed the City Manager to submit budgets with expenditures equaling revenues.
Stopped collecting water tap fees, closed the Water Fund, moved it into the Special Projects Fund & use the money on capital projects, including expansion & renovation of City Center to address the acute space needs of the Police Department. (Note: The Water Fund had been mandated to help fund Two Forks Dam, 20 years ago, but the project did not receive Federal approval.)
The $6 million Police facility project was paid with cash – compared to the $24 million financed cost of a facility proposed by the 2004 Council; voters rejected that proposal in November 2004.
Chief Coogan said the expansion & renovation of Police facilities, completed in April 2011, should serve police needs for at least 20 years.
Saved at least $3.5 million on proposed wastewater treatment plant disinfection that had already been scheduled.
Saved money by refinancing the Certificates of Participation on the Municipal Courthouse, which had a balance of $2.4 million, including accrued interest, in April 2011. The City is saving $264,097 in future value dollars and $214,100 in present-value dollars. That’s 9.13% of the refunded par value of the certificates through 2024. The agreement was finalized in May 2011. City Council had planned to pay this off using cash from the Water Fund (see above), but, given the unstable global economy, decided to keep the cash in the Special Projects Fund for future needs.
Created a code inspection program (2010) for multi-family units – the program ensures the safety of renters in multi-family units. Code enforcement preserves property values, and attracts & retains residents & businesses.
Sold the Sternberg Building (next to the Court House on Littleton Blvd), which had been vacant & unusable for many years. The building was sold for $174,000, with the understanding that the historically significant façade will be preserved. The renovation is a significant investment at the gateway to downtown, and the building is occupied.
Decriminalized many traffic offenses to improve the efficiency of the municipal court system, including reducing costs (2009).
Authorized a collection agency to collect unpaid fines, costs, fees & restitution which have been assessed by the municipal court (2011). This has improved the efficiency of the municipal court system & facilitated the timely closure of municipal court cases, which otherwise might take several years to close.
Created (2010) an Open Space & Parks Task Force to evaluate parcels of land & prioritize them using a system that addresses both the benefits & potential negative impacts of particular projects (with representatives from Arapahoe County, SSPR, The Trust for Public Land, Littleton City Staff, South Metro Land Conservancy, & a Developer/Commercial Real Estate Broker, & 2 members of City Council). As expected the City Council members have used the Task Force recommendations as a framework document for future policy decisions on land use, economic development strategy, & budget allocations.
Continue to work with other jurisdictions formally (Intergovernmental Agreements) & informally to improve efficiency & effectiveness. The City currently has more than 100 IGAs. Following are some of the one-time or ongoing IGAs.
Littleton partnered to create a trail along the historic City Ditch, with nearly $1 million in grants from GOCO & Arapahoe County Open Space. The trail is greatly expanding recreational & biking-to-work opportunities along the South Platte corridor, is attracting new people to Historic downtown Littleton’s events, restaurants & shops.
Littleton partners with South Suburban Parks & Recreation, Arapahoe County & Great Outdoors Colorado to leverage the City open space money into a multi-million-dollar investments in Littleton. (Parks, trails & open space help improve the quality of life & increase property values.)
In 2009, Littleton cooperated with the City of Centennial to pave a significant portion of Broadway, from Freemont Ave. to Weaver. The city’s share was approximately $140,000.
Since 1974, Littleton has used funds from our storm drainage fee to match funding from the Urban Drainage & Flood Control District to accomplish over $15 million of flood reduction improvements throughout Littleton. The City’s share of projects is typically 50%.
Littleton cooperated with the Colorado Department of Highways (CDOT), to widen & improve lighting on Santa Fe Drive from ACC to County Line Road. The City put up $1 million for engineering & design, & CDOT authorized $12 million for the actual improvements.
For nearly 30 years, Littleton has had an IGA agreement with Arapahoe County to fund the Shopping Cart service.
“The Littleton Streets Department cooperates with the City of Englewood Streets Department for specialized work such as rotomilling, paving, paint striping & concrete work. We co-own some equipment & loan each other employees for certain projects.”
Littleton, Englewood, & Denver have a joint agreement to coordinate traffic signal timing & operation on Santa Fe Drive from I-25 to C-470.
Littleton also participates in a DRCOG program to coordinate traffic signals on Broadway, Belleview, County Line Road, & Mineral Avenue.
Littleton is a member of the Arapahoe County E-911 Authority, which shares funding for the purchase of equipment for police & fire dispatch centers.
Littleton is a member of the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA), which provides pooled insurance coverage to 232 cities & counties throughout the state for property & liability coverage.
Littleton has two partners in providing fire/rescue service.
Littleton & Englewood co-host the 4th of July fireworks celebration.
Littleton saves money by contracting with SSPR to maintain Littleton’s parks.
Littleton & Englewood jointly own the Wastewater Treatment Plant, which also serves many sewer districts in the region.
Renegotiated the City contract with Denver Water (to facilitate regional & state-wide planning for long-term water needs). The revised contract was approved in 2011 at a benefit of $2.6 million to Littleton. The contract does not restrict Littleton’s right to annex.
Acquire strategic pieces of property for parks, trails & open space, & make other improvements that support & advance the broader goals of the city, such as buffering the South Platte Park & enhancing the fish habitat & recreational opportunities along Littleton’s stretch of the South Platte River, including expanding trails, trail access & connections to east-west trails. (The City has partnered with the South Platte Working Group, the Highline Canal Working Group, South Suburban Parks & Recreation, Great Outdoors Colorado, & others to leverage its investment in additional open space, trails & parks.) For example,
Superchi property (20 acres)
Ensor property (7.8 acres)
Murray II property (2 acres)
Lee Gulch (at its confluence with the South Platte)
Ackerman property (approximately .35 acres), Belleview near Santa Fe
the historic City Ditch Trail
Established a policy for minimum reserves in City funds (completed 2011):
the General Fund (8-18%, providing 3% for declared emergencies as required by TABOR & at least 5% for economic downturns),
TABOR (3% required by Colorado Constitution),
Fleet Maintenance Fund (8%),
Insurance Fund (several separate funds with differing required reserves),
Special Projects Fund (no minimum required, but desired minimum should be the subsequent year’s annual required lease payment),
Sewer Utility Fund (the amount required by bond covenants &/or loan agreements, plus recommended 8% operating reserve, based on operating expenditures,
South Metro Communications Center Fund, Emergency Medical Transport Fund, Fire Plan Permit Fee Fund, Storm Drainage Utility Fund (8% operating reserve, based on operating expenditures).
Continue to address needs & interests of Littleton’s diverse population
Encourage energy-efficiency: “Effective May 1, 2008, no building permit fee, plan review fee or use tax shall be collected for any solar hot water & photovoltaic systems installed on an existing single-family residence, for which a building permit is required.”
Encourage home improvements & spur employment & the economy – temporarily waived building permit fees for selected home improvement projects that did not require an extensive plan review, such as sheds, decks, patio covers, detached garages, electric service changes, water heaters, furnace & air conditioner replacement, re-roofing & siding permits (October 15 to November 16, 2009). The permits were good for one year.
Continue to fund the Library (to serve the needs/interests of job seekers, students, pre-school children developing skills necessary for pre-school & kindergarten, adults of all ages)
Continue to fund the Museum
Approved ordinance allowing beehives on almost all properties
Approved ordinance allowing up to 4 hens on almost all properties
Rezoned property at South Broadway (near Sterne Parkway) for an assisted living center to help increase the options for senior citizens (When the recession hit, the developer put the project on hold.)
Continue to fund Omnibus & Shopping Cart
Incorporated the Immigrant Integration Initiative into the Library, as part of the Immigrant Resources Program (to continue helping legal immigrants contribute positively to the community)
Capital Improvements & Infrastructure (These help retain & attract businesses & residents.)
Expanded the Police facility & renovated the existing facility
Rebuilt Rio Grande, which had significant drainage issues (finished on time & under budget)
Took over Bowles Avenue from the State (The state paid the City more than $1 million, which we put into a fund for transportation projects.)
Took over S Broadway from Rafferty Gardens to Littleton Blvd, which the City already maintained (The state paid the City $500,000, which we put into a fund for transportation projects.)
Rental Inspection Program of Multi-family units (ensures safety, health & welfare of residents; helps protect neighborhood property values; helps attract & retain businesses)
Maintaining City streets
Improving City sidewalks
sidewalk program (curb cuts for drives, etc.)
sidewalk improvement using Community Development Block Grants (These Federal funds, which are allocated by Arapahoe County, must be used in areas with relatively low incomes.)
Creation of a pea patch in the Northeast neighborhood, in addition to continuing the pea patch in the Sterne Park area