Protecting our families and our property and each of us is the most important function of government. Aurora's police force has proven themselves as heroes and our protectors in case after case. Our two-per-thousand manning standard has ensured our police officer force tracks our population growth. I am pleased that Aurora has commissioned an independent study to guide the city in how and where our officers will be used. This information will help guide the Council and the City in understanding how best to employ the police force. I spent my military career protecting the nation. Protecting you will remain my focus as a Council member.
Did you know that Aurora tax revenue does not automatically increase with the growth of the city? Aurora revenue comes from sales tax and fees on certain products like construction material and business expenses. The city also taxes hotel stays and rental car use. The city does not receive taxes from individual homes. The city also does not receive taxes from some of our largest employers including the University of Colorado Hospital, Children's Hospital and Buckley Air Force Base.
As the city grows, we have more roads to maintain, more services to provide, and more police protection to offer. Unfortunately, growth does not bring more revenue to Aurora.
The challenge the city faces is how to bring in revenue to support the growth of the city without increasing taxes on the citizens who live here. This disconnect is serious, and if you are not hearing it from others, they either don’t understand or they don’t want you to know.
I’ve served as the Chairman of the Strategic Planning Subcommittee for the Aurora Citizens Advisory Budget Committee. I have been working with our team to develop innovative solutions to these problems. Of all of the candidates running at-large, I am the only one who has been involved in solving these problems. I have the experience needed to keep your taxes low.
Aurora took decisive action years ago following a severe draught to ensure the city will have water now and in the future. I have personally toured each of our mountain reservoirs on the western slope and the entrance of our pipeline that pumps water through the continental divide. I have also visited the site of the new wild horse reservoir. Our City's most impressive accomplishment has been the construction of the Binney Water Purification Facility and our pipeline to Brighton. I am pleased with the steps Aurora has taken.
As Vice-President of the Eagle Bend Metropolitan District and a major customer of Aurora Water, I have gained expertise in managing water issues.
My goal as Councilman will be to ensure our water continues to be properly managed. I am also concerned about tap fees and the amount homeowners must pay for water. Aurora must continue to properly manage our water resources while ensuring our water is affordable to homeowners, businesses, and other customers.
Buckley Air Force Base
Buckley Air Force Base provides nearly a billion dollars a year of economic impact to Aurora and surrounding communities. It is a major employer and provides thousands of high-paying, great benefit jobs. It is the home of the 460th Space Wing and many tenant organizations, which is why we are privileged to have so many military members living in our great city.
Our challenge is with our jets and the potential closing of Buckley. The F-16 fighter jets, flown by the Colorado Air National Guard, are nearing the end of their live-span. In a few years, the Air Force will dramatically reduce the number of F-16s in the inventory as it replaces the F-16 with the newer F-35 fighter.
Buckley AFB was not on the first list of bases that will receive the F-35. That puts Aurora in a precarious situation. The Department of Defense and Congress believe there are too many military installations. They are working now to determine how many bases will end up with the F-35 and how many bases will close.
Aurora must do everything in our power to keep Buckley AFB open. Being a previous base commander and a retired Colonel, I am uniquely qualified to deal with this potential threat.
This is an exciting time for Aurora. We are growing across the city. The massive Gaylord is nearing completion on our North side. Stanley Marketplace is making a huge positive impact near Stapleton. The Regatta Plaza is transforming our West, and we are having explosive residential grown to the South.
Growth brings many positive benefits, and it also creates challenges. Housing is becoming more expensive, and many of our neighbors are finding rents too high to afford. Growth can also cause blighted areas as older sections of the city are abandoned when companies move to the new areas. We also see an unbalanced growth as we build houses without building businesses for people to work. Finally, the growth impacts our transportation systems.
Ensuring that growth is managed well and with the interests of the people of Aurora in mind requires an understanding of complex systems and the needs of our citizens.
I have a Master’s Degree in System Management and I served as a city manager for Buckley Air Force Base where I dealt with similar issues. I also served as the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce where I helped businesses grow in Aurora. I am the only candidate with the experience and background to deal with these complex issues.
I have mixed feelings about marijuana. As a military officer with a security clearance, I have never used it. On the other hand, I have friends who do. I respect the will of the voters so I support their choice to have marijuana business in Colorado.
I have worked with some of the marijuana companies in town, and I find the owners of these businesses responsible and focused on improving the city. Their buildings are first-rate, they offer good jobs with benefits, and they take care of the communities they are based in. These companies also pay their share of taxes and chip in with community functions.
Marijuana has caused negative effects. The crime rate has risen as a result of illegal grow houses and black-market sales. The gang shootings that occur have not been fully reported because people running illegal grow houses rarely report criminals stealing from them. The net effect is increased danger for Aurora. In addition, studies have shown that the use of marijuana by minors impacts brain growth and can cause a reduction in IQ. This concerns me tremendously, so we must continue our fight to reduce marijuana use by minors. Finally, we have had people without means move to Colorado to take advantage of our easy access to marijuana. This has caused problems as well.
My goal as your councilman will be to support the legal marijuana business while actively fighting against marijuana crime. Dealing with the complexities of child use and those who came here without a plan to be employed are more complex.
I have worked complex issues throughout my military and civilian career. I am the right person to represent your interests in dealing with this issue.