BRIGHTON — The results of a visionary session conducted by city council will likely influence the city’s 2013 fiscal year budget. The city has been working with urban planner Craig Johnson since April.
After surveying nearly 500 people from boards, commissions as well as the cities nine departments, Johnson came up with a list of concerns. During the visionary session, council took part in a dot diagram to prioritize the concerns in order of importance to them.
Ranked among the council’s top short-term priorities were public safety, growth, trail connectivity, branding and marketing, agricultural heritage, water, historic preservation redevelopment of downtown, arts and cultural activities, open space and the riverfront.
Council members emphasized public safety because they want residents to feel safe in Brighton. Councilman Rex Bell said the council’s emphasis on public safety could be reactionary to the recent events in Aurora but that council has really placed an emphasis on the need for increased police for next year.
Councilwoman Cynthia Martinez believes public safety is essential to the city’s growth.
“We won’t have a great city unless we have public safety. Unless our citizens feel safe in their own environment, we won’t grow, we won’t do anything, we won’t be sustainable at all. So I think that public safety’s the No. 1 priority,” she said.
Mayor Dick McLean said business development and marketing is also important because council is trying to brand Brighton as a place it wants people to come to and that’s the reason the city has grown so much in the past 10 years.
Councilman Chris Maslanik said there’s no reason why council can’t take all of these criteria into consideration for every decision that it makes.
Among the council’s top long-term priorities were water, the riverfront, agricultural heritage, public safety, open space, sustainability, finances, trails, business development public transit as well as branding and marketing.
City Manager Manuel Esquibel said the discussion “is very exciting” and that while every one of the items came out as a high priority, these were the ones that came out the highest.
“I think we have really gone through a process here that really will help when we get to the budget discussion. (We) will most likely bring some of this information back,” he said.
City spokeswoman Kristen Chernosky said the budget process is starting now as each of the city departments goes through their individual budgets, determining their needs and taking city council requests into consideration. Departments will then go over their requests with Esquibel and finance director Bernadette Kimmey throughout the months of August and September.
Department heads will then bring their proposals before council during an Oct. 5 budget retreat for consideration. A public hearing for the 2013 budget is slated for Oct. 16.