Five Great Ideas for Colorado Municipalities This Summer

-By Angelica Wedell

Summer is a busy time of year for Colorado municipalities. They are measuring performance, planning for a new fiscal year or researching great ideas to implement in their own communities. Thinking about the 2018 Colorado Municipal League (CML) Conference held in Vail, CO calls up a few innovations and pieces of advice that elected officials and local government staff can both consider to help them in their shared purpose of serving the public.

Colorado Municipalities conference, Damema

See the 2018 CML Photo Album by NRC on Facebook

1. Collective Leadership Training

“I’ve got some new council members who came [to the CML Conference] for the first time. I could tell that the interaction with their peers really made an impression on them. They felt like they are not alone in learning all this. I also think the message from the keynote speaker about action was right on target. That’s what our job is as leaders: inspiring others to act.” – Mark Relph, City Manager, Littleton, CO


2. Ask What More You Can Do

“I think usually what we communicate with each other turns out to be some of the most valuable advice, because that’s the boots-on-the-ground information. However, I think my favorite part from this conference was John O’Leary and the question he posed to all of us, What more can I do? That message really drove things home because that is what turned us to public service in the first place.” – Christopher Ryan, Mayor Pro-tem, Delta, CO


3. Seek Resources and Partnerships Available To Your Organization

“The best thing that I heard was how a lot of the departments and different coalitions work in tandem to provide services in partnership with municipalities.  These cooperatives offer solutions for mentoring, project management and finance for needs such as affordable housing, energy and more.” – Wendy Miller, Board of Trustees, Lyons, CO


4. Preventive Fire Mitigation by Volunteer Groups

“A lot of small municipalities struggle to come up with funding for fire mitigation. The U.S. Forest Service had a few representatives [at the conference] who were really excited about coming up with out-of-the-box ideas to enhance fire safety in mountainous areas. They are looking at establishing several community activist groups. As a volunteer/engagement activity, these groups are going in, cleaning up affected communities and making them safer. This is then saving money for the municipalities, the state government as well as the federal government. Fire prevention is costly, but it is much less costly than suppressing a fire once it’s already started.  So this is a great overall long-term plan, though it requires a ton of community engagement and active residents.” – Karra Walker, Student, CU Denver, Public Administration


5. Research Financing Options for Affordable Housing Initiatives

“I practice all over the state, so I went to a session on affordable housing for rural communities. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what’s out there for tax increment financing – who can do it and when they can do it.  I think the presentation did a great job explaining all the options, and I think they are well worth looking into.” Jack Reutzel, Lawyer, Fairfield and Woods P.C.


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