Awarding the work that goes into community building

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Posted 1/2/19

The Westminster Legacy Foundation is calling for nominations to honor and recognize individuals, businesses, groups and organizations for outstanding community service, volunteerism, leadership and …

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Awarding the work that goes into community building

Posted

The Westminster Legacy Foundation is calling for nominations to honor and recognize individuals, businesses, groups and organizations for outstanding community service, volunteerism, leadership and community involvement in Westminster.

Everyone that was nominated last year but did not win is automatically considered the following year. So, the foundation already has several nominations to consider.

There are seven categories which nominators can consider when submitting their nominations. The categories are the Nancy Heil Lifetime Achievement Award, the Nature, Environment and Sustainability Award, the Health and Human Services Hero Award, the Arts and Culture Award, the Corporate Citizen Award, the Citizen of the Year and the Young Citizen of the Year.

Some of the awards require Westminster residency. Current elected officials and top administrators of governmental units are not eligible.

The deadline to submit your nominations to the foundation is January 31. Please check the website at westyfoundation.org for more details.

The awards breakfast will be held on April 25 at the Westminster Westin Hotel and Conference Center. Details regarding ticket sales and sponsorships are also on the foundation’s website.

This is a great opportunity for the community to come together, celebrate Westminster, renew old friendships and make new ones and honor those who have helped make Westminster a fine community.

Were you aware of your tax break?

The Colorado Department of Revenue has given businesses and shoppers a break on collecting and paying sales tax on Internet sales, until May 31 at least.

Informally, the e-sales tax took effect on Dec. 7. Some retailers have been collecting and remitting sales taxes if they have a “brick and mortar” store in the jurisdiction where the sale is made.

The magnitude of determining which jurisdiction’s sales tax rate should be imposed on each commodity sale is mind boggling for the Department of Revenue. There are 344 taxing jurisdictions of cities, counties, special district and of course the state which produce 683 unique tax rates. Colorado’s 71 home-rule citie,s which collect their own taxes, do not come under the same rules which the state revenue department is working on.

Increased tax revenues through the land

The imposition of sales taxes on commodity sales like books, household items, clothing and electronics via the Internet has been a long time coming through the state and federal court systems. Now, there will be a “level playing field” between “brick and mortar” stores and retailers selling over the Internet.

Given the upward spiral of Internet purchases made by the public, sales tax revenues will definitely jump significantly in those states and local governments which impose sales tax. It is only fair to require shoppers to pay and retailers to collect and remit such sales taxes just like has been done for decades where shoppers physically purchase goods in a store.

The change in imposing sales taxes on Internet sales will be a noticeable “shot in the arm” for taxing entities.

Emerge Colorado controls the city council

Last week, I addressed the increasing influence of partisan politics at the local government level. In particular, I probably introduced to some of you for the first time the National Democratic Party’s brain-child known as Emerge. It recruits Democratic Party young women to be trained and supported to run for public office at the local level.

This endeavor is OK unto itself, but can have bad consequences. Emerge Colorado has been especially successful in garnering seats on the Westminster City Council. Faith Winter, who led the organization for a number of years, was the first Emerge (previously named the White House Project) graduate to serve on Westminster’s city council. Subsequently, there came more Emerge graduates — Anita Seitz, Emma Pinter, Maria de Cambra and Shannon Bird on the Westminster City Council.

Now, Dr. Sheela Mahnke, has been appointed by Seitz, Pinter, Bird and Katheryn Scully. Oh, did I mention that Mahnke is an Emerge Colorado graduate?

So, we have Emerge Colorado graduates appointing more Emerge graduates. Furthermore, they will do the same thing when they fill Bird’s and Pinter’s vacant seats in January when the two of them go to other elected offices because they will have the majority of votes. This approach compromises the non-partisan intent of the Westminster city government.

Vacancies should have been filled by the voters

This is just plain wrong to have a political partisan group majority on city council be so self-serving by selecting more of their own group which leaves the citizens out of the process.

Let’s remember that Pinter and Bird could have resigned from city council prior to being sworn in as state representative and county commissioner.

With de Cambra’s resignation, this would have made three vacancies which would have automatically triggered a special election.

Westminster voters deserve the opportunity to select the candidates they prefer to fill the three vacancies; not a majority of city council members who have a bond with their “sisters” in Emerge Colorado.

I am not saying the Emerge graduates are not qualified.

That is not the point. Westminster voters were usurped by this quiet, clever timing. As I have said before, I hate partisan politics!

2030 Winter Olympics host

The verdict has been rendered. Some will cheer while others will be disappointed.

The U.S. Olympic Committee recently announced their selection of Salt Lake City over Denver to be the United States’ entry in competing to host the 2030 Winter Olympics. The decision saved the state of Colorado an estimated $1.9 billion.

As I have stated before, the cost not only in dollars but the impacts on our state are not worth the bragging rights to be the host city. Since we cannot get Colorado voters to support funding for much needed transportation improvements, why would you expect taxpayers to shoulder part of the burden to host the Olympics?Thankfully, the 2030 Winter Olympics and the Amazon HQ2 will land elsewhere. Thank you Santa!

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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