Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 3, 201811min786


Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 17, 201810min619


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 16, 20174min340

Ardent defender of local control; treasure trove of facts and figures about Colorado’s cities; powerhouse lobby. The Colorado Municipal League fits the bill for all those descriptions and more. Of course, the organization’s wide-ranging mission goes with the territory — given the diverse assortment of municipalities it represents.

And that’s why its legislative wrap on the just-concluded 2017 session is wide-ranging as well. And lengthy.

Ever wary of overreaching by the state’s lawmakers, who have been known to trespass on local government’s turf, the league begins its summary and run-down of this year’s key legislative developments with a nearly audible sigh of relief:

Often, the danger of the last hours of the session is that deals get made in haste or by those trying to sneak something in under the wire. Once something gets into a bill or a conference committee report at the end of the session, it is hard for legislators to try to fix it — or kill it if it is not fixable.

In the last 10 days of the session, CML lobbyists were trying to contain and direct multiple bills… to ensure that the League’s positions were able to be maintained and that nothing changed in the bills that … municipalities would oppose.

In the final hours of the legislative session, there was a flurry of activity with many positive results. More importantly, no damage was done.

Like all influential lobbies — its slogan: “the voice of Colorado’s cities and towns” — the league cultivates a list of bills it supports as well as those it opposes every legislative session. And it makes sure it is heard; Executive Director Sam Mamet, a veritable fixture at the Capitol, is regarded as nothing less than relentless in pursuit of his members’ interests .

So, what were the league’s win-loss stats this year?

CML tracked 257 of the 684 bills and concurrent resolutions introduced. Of the 41 bills that CML supported, nearly 70 percent passed. Of the 29 bills CML opposed, 93 percent either were defeated or were amended such that the League dropped its opposition. These numbers may change, as they presume that the governor will sign all pending bills.

Among victories for which the league claims at least partial credit:

  • A step toward meaningful construction defects reform to kick-start owner-occupied attached and affordable housing. …
  • Defeat of unnecessary and harmful legislation that would have impaired downtown development authorities against the will of the voters who establish them …
  • Defeat of multiple bills that would have given business personal property tax and property tax breaks without holding municipalities harmless.

Incidentally, the league doesn’t sound too keen on a special session, whatever the pleasure of the governor:

While disappointing that the legislature could not find a meaningful statewide solution on transportation funding, it seems clear that a special session will not change that. People will have to roll up their sleeves over the summer and get back to work.

So noted.

Here’s the link again to the league’s full “Statehouse Report.”



Ron RakowskyRon RakowskyMarch 23, 20167min396

The media has been replete with the saddest of stories about a serious health issue facing all of our communities — prescription drug abuse. Here are some facts: Each day, 44 people die as a result of an opioid overdose, far exceeding car-crash deaths. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, the rate of opioid deaths has increased by 200 percent. A significant problem results from prescription painkillers. A March 16 New York Times article focused on the pressures facing physicians, especially in rural areas. “Do no harm” is in the medical crosshairs more and more. As state-administered prescription drug monitoring programs clamp down on the practice of over-prescribing, some patients turn to cheaper options, including heroin.


Sam MametOctober 22, 20158min360
On Nov. 3, more than 80 cities and towns across Colorado will hold municipal elections. The measures on municipal ballots are as follows: Broadband Twenty-six cities and towns will be posing questions related to Senate Bill 05-152, allowing the municipalities to provide or partner with private firms to provide broadband services: Alma, Bayfield, Brighton, Cedaredge, […]

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Sam MametNovember 8, 20136min398
Seventy-eight cities and towns held general and special elections on Nov. 5. Five municipalities canceled their elections due to a lack of candidates: Cripple Creek, Greenwood Village, Lamar, Las Animas and Victor, while Lochbuie voters rejected a recall of two town trustees. Other elections this cycle include Rifle, which holds its general election in September, […]

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Sam MametOctober 19, 20125min262

The Colorado Municipal League (CML), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1923 that represents the interests of 265 cities and towns, anticipates that at least 43 cities and towns throughout the state will be holding regular or special elections next month. What follows is a summary of some of them.

Election of candidates 
— Of these cities and towns, 10 municipalities are holding regular elections for candidates: Avon, Central City, Coal Creek, Dacono, Parker, Rico, Snowmass Village, Superior, Ward, and Williamsburg. Hayden and Kiowa have cancelled their regular elections.

CML wants to acknowledge the long-tenured public service of several elected leaders who have either decided not to run again or are termed out: Snowmass Village Councilmember Jon Wilkinson, Parker Mayor Dave Casiano, Parker Councilmember Gary Lasater, and Wheat Ridge Councilmember Wanda Sang, who had previously served the City of Wheat Ridge government as its long-time city clerk.

Financial measures
— Taxes are on 14 municipal ballots: in Aspen (sales tax for the school district); Boulder (five-year excise tax extension for a climate action plan, and 20-year sales tax extension for parks and open space); Calhan (sales tax for street improvements); Firestone (sales tax for parks and streets); Fleming (sales tax for the general fund); Fountain (property tax for a fire station and staffing); Holly (sales tax for the general fund); Lafayette (sales tax extension for open space); Larkspur (property tax for water well improvements); Louisville (sales tax extension for open space); Manitou Springs (property tax increase to join a library district); Nucla (sales tax extension for urgent medical care); Rifle (sales tax increase for a water treatment plant); and Walsenburg (property tax increase for the general fund).

There are debt questions in Aurora ($74 million for transportation-related projects); Erie ($6.2 million for a public safety facility); and Larkspur ($2.9 million for water well improvements).

There are questions to retain excess revenues under TABOR in Castle Pines, Centennial, and Denver.
In the presidential election four years ago, there were seven municipalities with debt questions, and 22 cities and towns had a variety of tax measures.

In Colorado municipal elections since 1992, 87 percent of revenue retention votes have passed; 55 percent of various tax measures have passed; and 68 per-cent of debt issues have been approved.

Miscellaneous measures
— While the legalization of marijuana is on the statewide ballot as Amendment 64 (which CML opposes), there are medical marijuana questions in Fort Collins (to overturn a previous voter-approved ban) and Berthoud (to prohibit).

Longmont has a fracking ban before its voters.

Edgewater has a question to merge its fire department with the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District.

Gas or electric utility franchise elections are before voters in Aspen, Commerce City, Durango, and Longmont.
Nucla is asking voters for permission to post publicly — rather than publish — various bills and contracts.

In Evans and Walsenburg, there are questions around the appointment of clerk and treasurer.

Fort Lupton is asking voters to modify term limits for the offices of mayor and council.

Yampa is posing a question on reducing the number of trustees from six to four, plus the mayor.

Snowmass Village has an advisory question on regulating plastic bags.

Aspen has an advisory question regarding a hydroelectric facility.

— Election costs range from Denver’s $1.2 million to $600 in Calhan.

Sam Mamet is the executive director of the Colorado Municipal League. You can visit their website at

Sam MametNovember 4, 20116min248

Voters in 72 cities and towns went to the polls across the state on Nov. 1 to decide on ballot issues and candidates. Four cities cancelled their regularly scheduled elections: Dacono, Fort Morgan, Las Animas, and Wray. Additionally, four municipalities will hold their elections next Tuesday, Nov. 8: Brighton, Mountain View, Telluride and Vail. The following results have been supplied by the Colorado Municipal League, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1923 representing the interests of 265 cities and towns.


Several cities asked voters to approve various debt questions:

• Aurora voters rejected the City’s debt be increased to pay $114 million for community recreation centers

• Boulder voters approved the City’s debt be increased up to $49 million for various capital improvements

• Bow Mar voters rejected the Town’s debt be increased up to $3.2 million for street paving

• Cañon City voters defeated a $5.1 million library improvements measure

• Durango voters approved that the City’s debt be increased up to $4 million for a purchase of water shares

Since 1992, 68 percent of municipal debt questions have been approved by voters.

Medical Marijuana

There were proposed taxes on medical marijuana products in five municipalities. Voters in Brush rejected that taxes be increased, while voters in Breckenridge, Commerce City, Frisco, and Palisade approved taxes be increased.

Six cities and towns had questions on the ballot concerning whether or not to allow the sale of the product:

• Brush, Fort Collins, and Yampa voters chose to prohibit medical marijuana centers and other marijuana-infused manufacturers.

• Oak Creek, Palisade, and Steamboat Springs voters approved the operation of medical marijuana businesses.­

Since 2009, voters in 34 of 37 municipalities where elections have been held have voted to prohibit such operations.

Tax increase measures

• In Avon, voters rejected a .35 percent sales tax increase for transit

• Canon City voters rejected a .25 percent sales tax increase for library improvements

• Nucla voters rejected a 1 percent sales tax extension to provide urgent medical care and equipment

• Oak Creek voters rejected a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund costs of salaries, equipment, and operation of the police department

• Fort Lupton voters agreed to extend the .5 percent sales and use tax for street improvements until Dec. 2021

• Voters in Aurora, Bow Mar, and Walsenburg defeated property tax increase measures

Since 1992, voters have approved tax increase or tax extension questions 55 percent of the time.

Lodging or short term rental tax proposals for marketing and tourism promotion occurred in Eagle and Sterling, and voters in both municipalities approved these increases. Brighton voters will determine this in their election next Tuesday.

Voters within the Steamboat Springs local marketing district agreed to raise taxes to support commercial air service at the Hayden airport.

Boulder voters approved an increase in that city’s utility occupation tax.

Other measures

Boulder voters approved the City’s authority to establish a municipal electric system. Colorado has 29 such gas and/or electric systems in the state currently.

In Longmont, voters approved a question allowing citizens to re-establish their city’s right to provide municipal broadband entry.

Pueblo voters awarded an electric franchise to San Isabel Electric.

Fort Lupton voters rejected the question to extend term limits, and voters in Platteville rejected the question to abolish term limits.

Questions to allow cities and towns to publish ordinances or other legal information by title only or on a municipal website were considered in Castle Pines, Lafayette, Lamar, Monte Vista, Oak Creek, and Platteville. (Brighton will consider it during next Tuesday’s election.)

• Castle Pines: approved for title only – complete text of all ordinances will be available through the city offices and on the city’s official website

• Lafayette: approved for title only – full text available in the city clerk’s office and in posting locations established by city council

• Lamar: rejected

• Monte Vista: rejected

• Oak Creek: approved for title only – full copies kept as permanent record in the office of the town clerk and made available at town hall

• Platteville: approved to no longer publish the payment of bills in newspaper of general circulation within the town

Mandatory sick leave on various employers was defeated in Denver, and a corporate personhood measure was approved by Boulder’s voters.

In Castle Pines, voters rejected the question to appoint, rather than elect, the clerk and treasurer.

Lafayette voters approved the establishment of a youth advisory board.

Loveland voters approved a TABOR-related 12-year revenue retention measure.

Englewood voters approved a measure spelling out how certain motor vehicles are to be regulated on private property.

Evans voters agreed to spin off the municipal fire department into a separate fire protection district.

Sam Mamet is the executive director of th Colorado Municipal League, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1923 representing the interests of 265 cities and towns.