Message from the Mayor: The Town’s processes and expertise make achieving the common good possible

Recently, I participated in a two-day Summit of Mayors 2022 hosted by the Colorado Municipal League. Forty-seven other mayors were there. They came from all four corners of Colorado and in-between. The towns they represented vary in size from 500 to more than 500,000 citizens. Their roles and responsibilities varied too. One mayor runs a Town without a city manager. Another is a non-voting mayor who also serves as county commissioner. Several are like me, a mayor of a statutory town with a specific set of governing requirements. The majority of mayors at the summit were from home rule towns where townspeople set the rules and procedures for their town’s government. Although roles and locations of the mayors and I may have varied, we all came together with a shared desire to learn from each other, become better at our jobs, gain insight into issues our towns are facing and future opportunities and challenges that might arise for them.

CML executive director Kevin Bommer and Tami Tanoue, executive director of the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency, welcomed the mayors and me to the event. The topics of the seminar sessions that followed ranged from running effective meetings to building effective teams, proposals before the next state legislature, workforce/affordable housing, and conducting annual performance evaluations of staff. I experienced each session to be timely, relevant and informative.

Each session had its own get and give component. So, when appropriate, I proudly gave information about what we’re doing here, and lessons we’re learning. Of the information I gave, summiteers were particularly interested in Estes Park’s efforts to address workforce and affordable housing needs. After explaining, what’s in the works here, several mayors told me they’ll be watching to see whether our townspeople approve an extension to the lodging tax to pay
for housing and childcare. Also, summiteers liked that our Board’s annual process of evaluating the Town Administrator, Town Attorney and Judge includes input from administrative staff and Board Members as well as a self-evaluation by the person being evaluated. Of the many things that I “got” during the summit, I was most surprised to hear about potential efforts to “reform zoning codes and encourage dense, sustainable development along transit corridors, while limiting exurban sprawl.”

During the summit, I found each seminar, and every conversation reaffirming my deeply held appreciation for Estes Park, and the government of its townspeople. When the summit was over, and my goodbyes and thank yous said, I headed home with a grateful heart for the foresight, knowledge and skill of the Town’s staff and that of the current and past board members. Certainly, as the many seminars and conversations had revealed, there’s room for improvement. But the
improvements will only consist of tweaks, not wholesale changes. The requisite processes and critical expertise are in place. As is the capacity of the Board and staff to effectively and transparently engage with each other and the townspeople to achieve the common good. Full speed ahead.

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About Pep Dekekr

Pep loves Estes Park, he lives here with his family and hopes to bring people to Estes Park and Estes Park to the people. Along with his wife Paige, they own

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