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Allow arts commission to expand from 5 to 7 members
Adjust council pay from per-meeting to a set period (monthly)
Allow 6 members of council to amend city charter during emergencies
Crap my first tweet didn't post, but this discussion is about what ballot measures council might want to bring forward this year. Presentation here:…
So why these? Arts Commission requested more members bc they do a lot of grants and it's a lot of work for 5 members. It's in the charter, so that would require a vote to change.
Council pay: Brought forward by Young, Nagle
Instead of being paid for each meeting, would shift to two-weeks or monthly pay period. The per-meeting thing results in some weird overlap with city payroll schedule.
“Payroll is run every two weeks. Benefits for councilmembers are deducted on an equalized basis over the 26 annual pay periods. As a result, there are times where councilmembers owe the city money for benefits at the beginning of the year, and for some payments, but not others”
That was per the packet.

So this would create payment based on 52 meeting schedule

I'll need to see more info, but first thought is: there aren’t 52 meetings… two weeks off for Holidays; three for summer + no fifth Tuesdays
Maybe council gets paid for holidays, but I don't think so.
The last one, to allow council to amend the charter during emergencies, has come up during COVID
You'll remember that in discussion citizen ballot initiatives, Young argued that putting things on the ballot would create danger bc ppl would want to campaign for and against them. We'll see if that logic holds tonight.
Yates asking Brautigam for examples of things she wanted council to do during the emergency but they couldn't bc of charter limitations.
Brautigam: I think what was in mind was changing petition requirements
Carr: Charter prohibits getting free water, and that's been something of a challenge for us .... ?

I have no idea what he's talking about.
Did I hear that right?
Young talking more about petitions, either changing the number or deadlines or transferring signatures to next year.
I might be mis-remembering, but didn't council vote to change the charter to allow virtual meetings?
Wallach: This proposal is "very, very broad." I would focus on "financial flexibility" in times of crisis. "The potential scope of this is unlimited. Would we be able to waive height limits? Things that are unrelated to the exact crisis we are experiencing."
Friend (who is on the charter committee with Young and Nagle; they brought this up): We did discuss buffers. It would be tethered to the emergency at hand and it would require a super majority (6 members)
She addresses my q about virtual meetings: They didn't have to change the charter bc it didn't explicitly prohibit them.

I still don't entirely remember, but I'll follow up.
Wallach: That is more interesting to me. But it's still broad and the devil is in the details.
Young: The ability to meet remotely was done by ordinance and not charter change, so we could do it. But this would cover "things of that nature."
Brockett: Guardrails would be important for this. Timeline would be one of those we could attach to this.
If we're going to put this on the ballot, we might spend time looking at the charter to see what things we might need to vary in the future, he says.
Yates: I'm still struggling to understand what we weren't able to do that we wanted to be able to do. The only thing I've heard so far is gosh it would have been nice if we could have waived the number of signatures on ballot petitions. I'm not sure we would have waived those.
That doesn't deal with the emergency, he says. It's a consequence of the emergency. "I remain skeptical that his is necessary."
Friend: We saw in March that we didn't know what we would need for the pandemic. We wanted to leave some maneuvering room so we wouldn't be in this position again. We wouldn't need to anticipate what we might need to change.
Yates: We've lived through two types of emergencies in the last decade. The 2013 flood and this. I'm not aware of anything that tied our hands then or now.
"If somebody could point to something and say gosh we would have done this but we couldn't bc of the charter."
Brockett: Carr did mention that the charter doesn't allow providing free water. That sounds like something we might want to do at some point.

That must mean not charging for city water utility...
Weaver: For me, arts commission and council compensation should be done at some point, but they don't need to rise to the level of being done this year.
"I see no reason to move through" those two items, he says.
Friend: I'm going to make the case for council members' pay schedule moving forward. "Historically, it's easier for ppl who are wealthy or retired to be able to serve on our city council. We have to take steps to make it more amenable to make it easier for more ppl to serve...
.... without it being an undue burden."

Now, with the wonky schedules, city has to dip into your bank account or tap your credit card. If you have enough $$ that's not a big deal. But if not, it is, she says.
"This will benefit working class people, so I don't believe it should be delayed," Friend concludes.
Joseph supports the initiative, but... "No one can live in Boulder on $11,000 (what council makes) so the comment about working class people ... I don't think there's any connection."
Brockett: I'll move those two forward (arts commission and council pay)
"It seems uncontroversial and I'd appreciate responding to their request," he says, RE: arts commission. Council pay "feels like a cleanup measure."
Wallach agrees with Friend (it's important) Weaver (doesn't need to be done this year) and Joseph (council pay isn't enough to live on so it won't make the difference between running or not)
Friend: $11,000 a year could make a difference for someone running to council if that is combined with a salary that puts them in a less desperate situation. We shouldn't presume on ppl's behalf.
Wallach: "I think you're right. For me, it's a matter of timing."

He also said earlier it mostly helps council members and he's loath to do something that only helps council members.
Young wants to move forward arts commission item.
"If we had a controversial item before us, I would be more reluctant," she says. "What we want to do right now is keep our community together and avoid divisiveness."
On council pay, she asked that to be removed from the recommended list bc of concerns over timing. But, on the other hand, when you "couple" council pay ($12,000, actually) with insurance "it can make a difference for somebody."
"If you are retired or have the means to not worry about this, who is to say this doesn't make a difference? Ppl can live with very little amounts of money."
Swetlik has a q that was in the packet. It would start in the first pay period of 2021.
If passed this year.
But Carr says something different: We usually have it apply to the next council.
Attorney Kathy Haddock weighs in: Yes, this was crafted to start in January. WE usually have increases apply to next council, but this is not an increase.
Swetlik: If we can make it so it applies after the next election, immediately, I'd be inclined to move it. But if not, I'd want to do it this year. As someone who needs this extra money and insurance.
I got kicked out of the meeting for a minute so I missed Nagle's comments.
Yates agrees with Swetlik on council pay.
Wants to ask arts commission if they can wait a year.
Suggests fixing insurance payments within the city, not by changing the charter. "It feels like we're making a charter change for what seems to be a relatively small problem that can be fixed in another way."
"It's a bad look for us to put things on the ballot if we don't have to."
Is it just me or does Weaver sound really annoyed with Friend tonight?
Friend: I don't think it's good enough to say we'll do it in 2021 bc ppl who are thinking about running in 2021 have no idea if they'll have reliable pay schedule.

It would "send a message" that we want ppl of all incomes to run.
Weaver: We're going to move forward with 1 or 2 big-ticket items this year that need to move forward. Arts commission and council pay: they are good ideas but I'm not sure they need done this year.
"Ballot bloat is already here," he says. It's a presidential election; we'll have a full slate to vote on.
"We're going to waste bandwidth and ppl's attention" if we bring forward things that don't need done in the next year, Weaver says.
Wallach: I'm reluctant to put a pay initiative on the ballot that's "basically for our convenience" during a time of economic strife.
Brockett also wants to defer council pay change to next year.
Arts Commission will move to the ballot this year.
Council pay will not (only Friend and Nagle vote for that)
Yates asks about the water issue.
Carr: "It's an issue we're avoiding right now. We have not done any water cutoffs and there are ppl not paying their bills."
Weaver: They're accruing debt. So it's like rent postponement vs. rent holiday.
Weaver proposes cleaning up charter language so it doesn't conflict with state law on citizen initiatives to change the charter.
Wallach: This is a consequential proposal. We need time to consider it.
(That was in reference to giving council emergency powers to amend the charter.)
Joseph: My understanding is we want something that is slightly more generic. If we created a free water one, it would just be for water. Then if we have an emergency situation, we would be wondering what can we do?
Ya'll, I'm drifting. And we have 4 more topics tonight!
Joseph: "I think it's always good to limit the power of a group. When you just unleash people, they can come up with any emergency."
Some discussion about super majorities. They exist today, like passing things on emergency.
"So is unanimity," Young says. "I would propose making it unanimous" for council to amend the charter in an emergency.

And we should limit it to national emergencies.
Friend: Unanimous might be one too many. What if you get a holdout that is just irrational. Maybe 8 out of 9. I can understand how 6 doesn't feel much better than 5. "But unanimous sounds steep."

Weaver agrees.
Maybe 3/4 gets us where we need to be, Weaver suggests. You have to set it not at a number of ppl, bc you might not always have 9 members.
For me, Weaver says, an important guardrail would be not letting council "raid the piggybank" of dedicated funds. "I know lots of ppl hate dedicated funds ... but I'd like it to not be part of emergency measures."
The charter says coucnil can designate the mayor to take over command of the police force in an emergency. "I think that's a terrible idea." Wants to review the charter for other ideas like that which suck.
(That was Mayor Weaver, btw.)
Brockett: Have we considered a one-year pause on dedicated funds, to help us through this crisis?
Brautigam: The financial committee discussed it. "There's further thinking behind the scenes about whether it's appropriate or not to do that."
Her "personal view: un-dedicating funds for a short period of time is probably not going to be as effective as we want it to be. Our residents voted for dedicated funds for a reason. It might be a difficult position to put council in."
"It's really a political question," she says.
Brockett: "It would be useful to know" if staff felt "we were falling in a crater and that would be a rope to get us out."
Wallach: It was my recall that the financial committee hasn't rejected un-dedicating funds; we need to look at it more.
Also some discussion about what type of emergency would trigger council's powers to amend the charter. Young said national; Friend, Weaver and Wallach say local. Like maybe if the state declares a disaster/emergency in Boulder County.
Ya'll, I'm TIRED. Let's get back on track.
Yates going through what powers council could have to amend the charter: Extend or change council terms, change the name of the city, suspend boards and commissions.

"If you're going to go down this list, you're going to have dozens and dozens of exceptions."
Rather than giving us "blanket power" and then excepting powers you don't want us to have, Yates says, I suggest we tackle the problems we do have.

"I continue to be opposed."
Wallach disagrees with his bestie.
We should have a list of things we could adjust, how long we could exercise that power and under what conditions we could exercise them.
Weaver concurs. "The need to be things which would have an impact on an emergency. ... Pandemic, flood, fire, nuclear war... What elements of the charter, if suspended, would give council" more flexibility to deal with?
He supports moving forward. Everyone else does do, Weaver says, except for Yates.

I don't think we heard from Nagle, but that might be when I got kicked out of Zoom.
First reference of alien invasion during a #Boulder city council meeting, which is somewhat surprising.
Council going to move forward with exploring emergency powers to change the charter. 6 members prefer to pursue an option that enumerates what, exactly, could be amended.
Moving on to Part 2 of this discussion: No tax measures are being brought forward this year, but staff still discussing potential future needs.
Sales/use tax rate: 3.86% (only Broomfield is higher)
1/10 of cent sales/use tax = $3.5M (prior to COVID)
Mill levy = 11.981 (Longmont, Lafayette higher)
Max mill levy = 13.000
1 mill property tax = $3.9M/year
Expiring taxes:
.3% for Culture, Community Safety = $10.5M (or $8.7M under W recovery) Dec. 31, 2021
UOT- Energy Strategy = $2.08M; Dec. 31, 2022
UOT - General fund = $4.75M; Dec. 31, 2022
Boulder County is still considering an affordable housing / transportation tax, but it's looking unlikely.…
Which is a real pickle, bc the need for affordable housing will never be greater than during an economic crisis, when funding and support for taxes is lowest.
Now Part 3: Conflicting state and local requirements on charter amendment petition initiatives. Here's a presentation on that and the governor's order around mailed and emailed signatures:…
Those rules have not been published yet, Carr reminds. I don't know when they'll be published.

The order just announced the intention.
Carr going over why Boulder's home-rule authority allows its own election rules to supersede the state's
"The state law is intended as guidance," he says.
Language in the state statue says "you can use these if you don't have anything yourself" in terms of a city's own charter rules.

"The same person who is raising questions now advocated for council to undo the changes made by voters in 2017," Carr says.
Doesn't name this person, but the Bedrooms Are For People folks said it was a former city council member in their email to Carr and council. (Media was copied on that)
That person's argument was that you need double the number of signatures bc this is a special election, Carr says. This is not a special election. Our charter says special elections are not in November.
Charter used to allow community to force a special election, but that language was removed by voters in 2017. This person wants to re-instate that but apply it to even-year elections, which was never the intent.
This person sounds like a real dick.
Weaver asked a question that I missed; Carr saying why the city went with the state on one issue and with the charter on the other. I think it's in reference to the number of signatures residents have to get to place something on the ballot.
Carr: My suggestion is to not change these mid-stream. If you want to clean this up, do it for the next election.
Carr: "We gave advice that signatures (for charter amendments) were due 90 days before the election. We could have said 150 days, but we didn't," and ppl have been relying on that.
"We advised committees that they had 180 days to gather signatures."
Weaver: Why is it you were picking and choosing bc charter section 39 and CRS (Colorado Revised Statute)? If your opinion is that city charter trumps state requirements, how come we are toggling back and forth?
Carr: "I don't think we should have done that, but that's what we did."
Carr: Guidance to petition groups, "those were published months ago on our website.
Weaver: Were they picking and choosing between charter and state?
Carr: Yes.
Carr: I think we've all learned a lot through this process. this is the first time we've had to apply this guidance, and it's been a trying process. If we want to codify it in an ordinance, we can.
Carr: One of the things an advocate has said is we should follow state law for charter amendments. We could do that. That would require a change to our charter, in my opinion.
Wallach: Is there a legal jeopardy to any of the actions taken by staff to toggle between state and local provisions in a discretionary fashion?
Carr: I think there would be more risk if we change advice after we gave it and ppl relied on it.
"I think we're on pretty strong ground" to defend what we're doing. "That doesn't mean someone won't sue us."
Friend: This sounds like a pain in the butt to me and difficult for a lot of ppl to understand. I don't know the genesis for the situation we're in. Are there specific things we want to keep as a home-rule city? Do we want to look a little broader?
"It all sounds more convoluted than it needs to be."
Carr: Guidance that clerk gives to community is pretty good. You don't have to go to the charter and figure out the rules; we tell you what they are.

I'm not suggesting we rely on state law; I don't think that's a good idea.
"There is one very vocal person in the community who suggests that's what we should do in all cases."
A lot of the state guidance is intended for cities smaller than Boulder, Carr says. "We have a very sophisticated electorate here." We should exercise our home-rule authority.
Carr: "Charter amendments and initiative petitions are inherently political. They tend to be hotly contested from the outset." The rules should be very clear from the beginning so staff doesn't have to pick one side over the other. "The clearer the rules, the better."
Nagle: If I was over the mind of switching over, the one area we're having issues from this resident. ... Would you support that?

Man, how does one resident amass enough power to trigger an entire conversation of council debating changing the city's charter?
Carr: That's not for me to say. You would be cutting down the days ppl have to get signatures. "This would tend to punish the Bedrooms for People folks" who got started "way early" and reward those who started later.
"Our charter has always said you have six months to gather signatures. Cutting it to three is a material change for folks. I encourage you to think about the implications of doing that."
Nagle: So ours is much more lenient. .... But the challenge is that having you say one thing and then getting "so many emails" saying the charter doesn't support it... It's getting very confusing.

"It's a lot to deal with."
Carr: "The person who is advocating is an advocate against the current petitions and all of his opinions would shorten the petition time or increase the number of signatures. Also, he's not a lawyer. I am."
Carr: "I don't believe there is confusion. I believe for reasons" to oppose the current initiatives, "a person is raising conflicts that don't exist."
That's his right, Carr says.
Young: "What I'm getting is there don't appear to be conflicts, but there do appear to be choices."

I would lean toward an ordinance instead of codifying it in the charter.
Brockett: Does anyone want to reverse the guidance we gave this year?

No one is.
Brockett: So is it that we want to change this for another year?
Weaver: Yes. We don't want to figure this out the first year we have online petitioning.
Weaver: "I believe (Carr) is probably right is that (Boulder's) charter can take precedence."
"If there's a legal challenge, then the intent of voters and council is super clear," Weaver says. "If in fact the state rules overrule the city charter, that will be a heavy lift for someone making that lawsuit. ...
...(Carr) has made a convincing argument that home rule allows us to set our election rules."
Swetlik: I do have major concerns that the charter amendment petitions can run into legal challenges and then have all their work be for naught. "I would hate for that to happen."

Suggests they try to get signatures in early.
So council will do a clarifying ordinance to be passed soon, that Boulder's charter is what the city is following.
I *think* that's a wrap on this one.
To recap: moving to the ballot is a measure to add 2 members to arts commission and (maybe) one to give council emergency powers to amend the charter during times of crisis/emergency.
Yates reminding ppl that the muni / an agreement with Xcel might make the ballot this year.
Carr: There's also the option to put a "competing" measure on if anything qualifies for the ballot.

So if any of the petitions make it, council can put an opposing measure on, apparently...?
In all this discussion, not one mention about how these ballot issues might force ppl to campaign during COVID, risking their health and safety.

Almost like it was a fake argument....
Anyway, that's it for this one.

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