Aurora lawmakers soliciting input from businesses tired of government ‘red tape’

January 24th, 2022

See Full Article by the Aurora Sentinel Here
Aurora Municipal Center
Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | If you’re an Aurora businessperson frustrated with local licensing, regulations, taxes, fees and other conditions for doing business set by the city, members of Aurora’s City Council want to hear from you.

On Thursday, a newly-minted “red tape reduction” committee called for at least three hearings to be held in the coming months, where business owners, developers and others will be invited to share what they think could be done to make the city easier to work with.

“I think being able to capitalize on and hear from as many voices as possible is the ultimate goal,” said Councilmember and committee chair Dustin Zvonek, who spearheaded the group’s creation. “I’m hopeful they’ll give some examples of things here they deal with that they don’t elsewhere. … But also we want to be able to explain things if there’s a clear reason.”

The three hearings which the committee talked about convening in February, March and April would be held at different times of day and give community members the chance to talk specifically about city rules and regulations, taxes and fees, and other city processes.

Zvonek and fellow council members Francoise Bergan, Curtis Gardner, Danielle Jurinsky and Juan Marcano were appointed to the committee in December.

The committee members on Thursday proposed attendees be given five minutes each to speak, and that hearings could last around an hour and 40 minutes, with the option to convene more than three hearings if many people show interest.

Kim Stuart, director of communications for the city, told the committee the city would also open up its Engage Aurora platform to invite comments online.

Council members mentioned some of the frustrations that they had heard from entities that work regularly with the city. Marcano said he’d heard the city’s RFP process is “cumbersome” and also that he wanted to make sure public-facing departments were adequately staffed.

“I want to make sure we’re cognizant of that, because it does impact our development community, obviously,” he said.

Jurisnky, a real estate agent and restaurant and bar owner, also said one of her “biggest complaints with the City of Aurora is there’s no communication when there’s an ordinance changed and things like that.”

She and Zvonek suggested the city use the contact information submitted by businesses that have obtained licenses from the city to perform outreach ahead of the hearings.

Other committee members encouraged the city to get the word out through local chambers of commerce, the Aurora Economic Development Council and the Aurora-South Metro Small Business Development Center.

Once the committee finishes gathering public input, it will return with policy recommendations to the council as a whole, though a firm deadline for that has not been set.

The committee is currently scheduled to meet on the third Thursday of each month and will meet next on Feb. 17 at noon.