Below are what I consider some of the highlights of the past four years:
- Centennial purchases a city hall
- Centennial becomes a home rule city
- Streets at SouthGlen opens
- Public works is successfully transitioned to CH2MHill
- 10 year contract is reached with the Arapahoe County Sheriff
- IKEA opens in Centennial
- Centennial Center Park is built
- Land Development Code was rewritten
- Centennial ranks as the safest city in Colorado for 7 straight years
- The first official census count for Centennial comes in at 100,377
- Centennial Promenade is annexed into the city
- Senior Commission is formed
- Fund balance increased from $14.8 million to $21.6 million
- First ever redistricting was accomplished
If I had decided to run for re-election, there would be several issues that I would want to address. I hope the new council tackles these issues in my absence:
- City management philosophy – There are two differing views on how our city should be run. Some believe that council should be deeply involved in the operation of the city. Others, like me, believe that council should provide policy guidelines and let the professional staff do their jobs. I am not an expert on building roads, zoning requirements, etc. This is why we have our city employees and I believe they do an excellent job. There have been several instances this year where the council has gotten too deeply involved in the operations of the city. This has wasted resources and made us look inefficient and amateur.
- Future budget difficulties – At almost every budget meeting, we talk about the fact that our expenses are increasing faster than our revenue. At some point in the near future, these lines will cross and we will be forced to cut expenditures. I think we need to start cutting now. There isn’t a lot of excess in our budget, and anywhere that we do cut will have a negative impact on part or all of our community. It will be tough to do, but the sooner we do it, the better.
- Arapahoe Road widening – I just don’t think we will be able to fund the “perfect” widening of Arapahoe Road east of Parker Rd. The survey we did in 2011 shows that there isn’t much public support for a bond issue. As mentioned above, our budget doesn’t have much room left for capital improvement projects like this either. The only option in my mind is to proceed with a scaled back version of the project that would be $6 million dollars instead of $15 million.
- Arapahoe/I25 reconstruction – This is the biggest road project for Centennial in terms of costs and impact. When this interchange doesn’t function, it impacts our businesses and our residents. Any changes that are made do need to be mindful of the nearby neighborhoods, but something must be done. Unfortunately, this involves lobbying our Congressional representatives for the money to get it done. Yes, we are asking for what used to be called an earmark — made famous by the Alaska “Bridge to Nowhere.” I hate this game and the fact that some will assume this project is a boondoggle. But we have to play it and we need Congress to listen.
I think other issues that the new council will have to deal with are internal. Over the past year, the council has had a tendency to rehash old debates repeatedly and talk about issues for way too long before taking action. I believe that you should make your argument, let the council make a decision and then move on. It does not help the city to have someone bring up an issue over and over or to make the same arguments repeatedly. The council is there to make decisions as a whole, not to serve as a soapbox for individuals.
With that being said, Centennial’s future looks bright. The council has done a good job of doing what is expected of it by keeping growth to a minimum while expanding services in needed areas. All current council members (and from what I can tell, the new council members), are true public servants and care deeply about our community.