It’s the start of a new year and time for a moment of reflection. This January marks the mid-point of my four-year term as mayor. In some regards, it feels as if I have been in this role for a very long time and in others, it feels like I just got started. The two-year pandemic has certainly changed what I thought would take precedence when I took office in January 2020. While the pandemic isn’t over, this mid-point is a good time to take stock on how things are going in Golden.
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Golden continues to be the best place to live, work and play as evidenced by the continued high demand for housing, new business openings, and a lot of new tourists. Community involvement has been strong with many of our cultural and service non-profits having record-breaking fundraising and outpourings of support. These signs of strength occurred against the backdrop of significant social and economic impacts from the pandemic and speak to the character and resilience of Golden.
The City finished 2021 in a strong financial position with increasing revenues, managed expenses, and retention of dedicated employees. We have been successful obtaining additional state grant funding and federal funding to help advance our priorities. In November, Golden voters authorized retail marijuana stores and an associated tax and a lodging tax on overnight visitors to help pay for the community impacts of increasing tourism.
The city’s financial strength affords us the opportunity to further our Strategic Action Plan goals in 2022. Housing affordability efforts will advance under the guidance of the city’s new Housing Coordinator. The future vision for the Clear Creek corridor will be decided with an adopted plan for the Heart of Golden. A continuing review of fire department operations will determine the future size and structure of our GFD. The zoning code rewrite will come to completion with the adoption of new zoning laws. Additional projects around sustainability, transportation, racial equity diversity and inclusion, open space, parks and more are reflected in the current Strategic Action Plan to be reviewed and updated by Council in January.
There is no shortage of ideas and opportunities for improving and preserving Golden. You can help to work on these efforts and shape our future by applying for an open seat on a board or commission. Bring your enthusiasm, thoughts, and willingness to collaborate with others to a seat at the table.
The past two years have been incredibly challenging for many of us as individuals and collectively for the city and community. I continue to feel honored and privileged to be serving as your Mayor and am excited and optimistic for all that we can accomplish together during these next two years.
I wish health and happiness for you and your loved ones. Happy New Year.
Laura Weinberg is the mayor of Golden, Colorado.
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