City Council Study Session – 9 May 2017

City Council Study Session                        9 May 2017.           Citizen Minutes

Colorado Quarterly Census of Employment (QECW) Rates Database – The QCEW is a federal program that reports the number of employees and wages for all that pay into the unemployment insurance system representing about 97% of those employed.  The data would be used to help identify the number of people that live and work in Littleton, how many work in Littleton but live elsewhere, and other data collection and tabulation.  The cost is $230 per year.

Budget Update – Tiffany Hooten, Finance Director, provided the council with an update on budget.  There is a TABOR excess.  An excess requires the money be refunded to the taxpayers or for the taxpayers to approve the retention of the excess.  

Doug Stephens, Police Chief, provided the council with an update.  Littleton remains one of the safest places to live in Colorado.  With the weather changing there will be more crimes of opportunity.  He mentioned recent criminal activity.  He then commented on national issues involving the police – the opioid epidemic and illegal immigrants.  He said the opioid epidemic is not present at this time but he is anticipating that it will get here.  It is a challenging issue.  The DEA is having trouble keeping up with the chemical compounding agents that keep changing the formulas to make them legal.  About 90 people per day are dying from an overdose.  The opioids are getting stronger.  He mentioned one called “gray death” – a gray concrete looking substance.

Chief Stephens responded to Doug Clark’s question about use of force saying that they categorize any injury, claim of injury or could claim injury as use of force and the reports are reviewed each year.  They have identified some issues and made modifications.  The number is less than 1%.

Then he passed around a book about an inch thick – looked pretty glossy like the old Penny’s or Sears catalogs.  The book was the use of force report from LA.  Littleton’s may amount to a few  pages.

Clark asked if our police get adequate training and Stephens said yes.  Stephens would like to do more scenario training  – he likes to evolve and expand because we are a safe community the officers don’t get a lot of exposure to situations so he likes to provide that sort of training.

On immigration, Stephens said they will not enforce Federal law.  Jails have their own policy on immigration.  The reason behind his position is that it would have a chilling effect on crime victims  – victims will be less likely to contact the police when they are a victim of crime when police are involved with immigration enforcement.

Stephens is authorized for 77 police and currently has 74 on the street.  He informed council that the police will bring a pension issue to them.

Fire Unification

Debbie Brinkman met with the five representatives (one from each fire district) to look at a governance model.  Each representative thought the proposal was “under whelming.”  She said that the content lacked substance and there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm.  She would be meeting again on Friday and asked each council member to provide her feedback.

Bill Hopping thought it was premature to talk about governance saying the proposal lacked cost, culture and service.

Brinkman mentioned two different models for governance; one based on population and the other a financial model.  She said they thought it would be an elected board for 4 to 5 years.  The intention is to have a mill levy that was the same for everyone.  Clark asked her if they were considering a mill levy for Littleton to which she said the governance is a two step process – the interim and long term and they won’t look at the long term now.  (Right now Littleton residents do not pay a specific mill levy for our fire and emergency services.  Services are provided by the General Fund.)

Bruce Beckman said they just weren’t there yet.  Brinkman asked if there was any interest in having the report reworked.  Phil Cernanec said he expected the Chiefs (authors of the report) to address why and identify the problem.  He saw this as presenting a solution – not, here’s the issue and the potential gain.  He had questions about the assets and resources and the whole historical context in the community.

Beckman said the community looks to this council for fire safety and welfare – that’s the culture of this city.  There’s accountability in the community and giving that up without even discussing ……we need to identify the problem and all solutions.

Mark Relph said the consultant was looking at other options and there will be a more detailed analysis of the current partnership.

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