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Answered at the event
Casey Tighe: We’ve got great employees at Jefferson County. As new elected officials come in, it’s great that they bring a new energy and new ideas. But when you have great employees already on the ground, they can help counsel those new elected. I’ve been talking with many of our new officials and they have been very impressed with the employees in their offices.
Lesley Dahlkemper: Another advantage we have is that we make it a point to work together as elected officials. We meet monthly, we don’t hesitate to text or call each other to really think through the complex issues we have ahead. We have a great team with different perspectives, and I think that makes us stronger as a team.
Libby Szabo: At the local government level, it’s different. Local government usually isn’t that partisan. We realize that we serve the citizens and businesses here in Jefferson County – and that’s what they elected us to do. It’s not to fight about our heartfelt issues, but to fight for YOUR heartfelt issues. I think we realize that and that’s how we overcome that challenge – it’s very important to each one of us.
Casey Tighe: For a while, I was the only democrat on the board. But it was always a very collaborative environment. We try to work together to get things done. We have a difference of opinion sometimes, but it’s always a collaborative and respectful environment.
Lesley Dahlkemper: We also work closely with our other elected officials and department heads so that at the end of the day we want to make sure we’re making good decisions with the taxpayer dollars – that’s the strength of partnership.
Don Davis: The men and women of Jefferson County are pragmatic, because these commissioners and the team here really does work together – once the elections are over, everyone is on the same page.
Casey Tighe: Particularly on the northwest side of the county, traffic is really becoming a challenge and we’re seeing more development on that corridor. We’re working closely to try and get the WestConnect project done.
Libby Szabo: I am the board appointee to DRCOG. We’ve recently working out our TIP process. Working collaboratively with our cities, I think we have a good plan to be able to put forward good projects that I hope will be voted on. We’ve started a new process this year where two categories were created for larger projects and smaller projects; we’ll see how that works, but it seems that it would work better for the smaller cities and counties that are involved.
Lesley Dahlkemper: It’s also about looking at multi-modal transportation and how we accommodate that for citizens and community members here in Jefferson County. And also about working with our partners at CDOT. It’s looking at how do we work with our communities, CDOT and other partners to make sure that traffic is moving, people are staying safe in some specific areas.
Don Davis: The northwest corridor is something that has been talked about for a long time; we’re really close and working hard on that. We are making an effort to prioritize our repair and maintenance efforts by putting some science behind it to better estimate and forecast our requirements in the future. There has been talk about the Jefferson Parkway for several years and we’re still working on trying to get that done. We’re talking about different funding challenges and looking into different ways to fund road projects like this one – things like public-private partnerships and toll roads. We don’t have a long list of transportation projects right now because funding just isn’t there for those projects, especially since the couple of state initiatives were voted down last year.
Libby Szabo: It always plays a big role, and it’s the people in this room that create the jobs for our citizens. As your local government, we try and create that base in which we don’t tax you too much, we let you develop your land and we support you in all you do so that you can run a thriving business – in that, it will create jobs for residents and those that commute in to work in Jeffco.
Lesley Dahlkemper: Our economy is thriving. We also know from our business community, is that workforce readiness is very important to you, especially in the STEM careers and construction and trades. If we come back to our partnership theme, we see incredible work across the board with our businesses and school district to provide opportunities to students to get first-hand experience in these areas.
Casey Tighe: A good economy is crucial to a high quality of life. One of the challenges we have is the Gallagher Amendment and the different ways that commercial and residential property is assessed. It’s crucial for our school district, special districts and the county that we have a healthy economy with a strong business community and that we have a good mix of residential and commercial zoning. That’s why collaboration is so important to have discussions about how we want the county to grow, how we mix in open space to development.
Libby Szabo: As we hear land use cases, we as commissioners really take in the aspect of how it will affect our community. We listen to our citizens and also the well-being of the applicant who is trying to do something good for our community. It’s so important that we find the balance of industrial, commercial and residential – just having houses can be a detriment and a county budget and how we can take care of services.
Casey Tighe: People want to locate in communities where they feel safe, have a good lifestyle, they want to be healthy and a good education. All of these things work together is what makes a great community. We have to keep revaluating where we are and what we’re doing.
Lesley Dahlkemper: Jefferson County has an unmatched quality of life … so as we think about growth and development, we always want to be thoughtful and strategic about how we grow, making sure we’re meeting the services and needs of our community and that we’re always retaining what attracted us to Jefferson County in the first place.
Don Davis: Your county leadership is looking at what does Jefferson County 2050 look like and how do we backward plan from there to be what we want it to be in the future. Something that transcends election cycles and that gets us on a path for a future that is sustainable.
Answered by Jeanie Rossillon, Development & Transportation Director
The Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority (JPPHA) is preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Jefferson Parkway. The schedule for releasing the RFP has not yet been finalized. JPPHA is also currently seeking applications for residents in Broomfield, Arvada and unincorporated Jefferson County to serve on a local working group for the project. Applications are due April 15, 2019.
Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo serves on the Authority Board of Directors along with representatives from Arvada and Broomfield.
More information about the Jefferson Parkway, the JPPHA and the application form for the local working group can all be found on the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority website.
Answered by Matt Robbins, Community Connections Manager
Phase I (planning) of the formal restoration project begun in early 2018 and successfully completed on time and under budget in early 2019.
Phase II (construction) will begin in April or May 2019 or as soon as the weather permits and the ground thaws. Jefferson County Open Space (JCOS) staff will be working alongside a team of contractors to conduct on-the-ground restoration efforts, and multiple opportunities will be created for volunteers to assist.
In addition to the site stabilization and restoration plan, Jefferson County staff continues to work with private and public land owners to identify a sustainable location for a new off-leash area in the Evergreen community.
Jefferson County is a statutory county, we are not home rule. Therefore, the county will not be making any decisions relating to these items.