Jefferson County Commissioner Kathy Hartman Participates in PLAN Jeffco Debate

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PLAN Jeffco hosted a debate between the Candidates for Jefferson County Commissioner between Kathy Hartman, current Chairman of the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners, and Don Rosier. The event was held Tuesday, September 21st, at 7:00 pm in the Jefferson County Open Space offices.

PLAN Jeffco hosted a debate between the Candidates for Jefferson County Commissioner between Kathy Hartman, current Chairman of the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners, and Don Rosier. The event was held Tuesday, September 21st, at 7:00 pm in the Jefferson County Open Space offices.

Due to a scheduling conflict, Mr. Rosier attended via the internet, while Ms. Hartman participated in person.

PLAN Jeffco is the county-wide volunteer citizens' group that organized and drafted the original Open Space Resolution in 1971. The campaign resulted in the formation of the Jefferson County Open Space program in 1972. PLAN Jeffco currently functions as a watchdog group, observing meetings of the Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC), participating in subcommittees and issues groups, proposing and working for important acquisitions and keeping citizens informed of what is going on in their Open Space program.

The candidates discussed their plans for improving Jefferson County and Open Space initiatives and addressed a wide and comprehensive range of questions from the audience.

Questions included:

  •     Bringing jobs to Jeffco,
  •     Revitalization of older neighborhoods
  •     Improving land use and zoning
  •     Open Space acquisitions and maintenance
  •     Making Jeffco a sustainable community
  •     Improving waste and recycling
  •     Improving multimodal transportation
  •     Declining tax revenues
  •     The impact of FasTracks and the Jeffco Parkway
  •     Pine Beetle infestation and fire mitigation
  •     The future of trains, light rail and mass transit in Jeffco
  •     The impact of illegal immigrants in the County

Commissioner Hartman said her top three goals for the next term are creating jobs and providing opportunities for businesses to grow and expand in the County, revitalization of older neighborhoods to create vibrant local communities, and improving land use and zoning. The Commissioner discussed her plans for building a sustainable community through improved waste collection and recycling, multi modal transportation initiatives to improve access to the mountain communities, and supporting all ages of the Jeffco population which has the largest population over age 60 in the Denver metro area.

Commissioner Hartman’s deep knowledge of the county financials and budget process was most evident when discussing the decline in tax revenues and current budget planning, which includes a four year freeze on spending and selected budget cuts ranging from 2-5%. Hartman also discussed how improved financial efforts enabled the county to decrease its interest expense on County Bonds which freed up almost $20M in new funds to acquire more Open Space. Hartman, who currently serves on the State Transportation Advisory Council, described her support for FasTracks but discussed the need for an understanding of how to pay for terminals, and stations throughout the county.

Hartman went on to describe her passion for protecting Jeffco Open Space, her years as a volunteer prior to her election, and how important it is to honor the mandate of Jeffco citizens who value parks, recreation and Open Space. Connectivity of Open Spaces from Eldorado State Park near Boulder to the Pike National Forest in southern Jefferson County is a goal for Hartman.

Commissioner Hartman cited her awards, recognition and accomplishments since being elected in 2006 which includes:

•Chosen Colorado Freshman Commissioner of the Year in 2007 by Colorado Counties, Inc.
•Endorsed by over 20 Jefferson County area elected officials from both parties
•Brought hundreds of New Energy Economy jobs to Jeffco
•Working to ensure that West and Gold FasTracks corridors will be completed as scheduled
•Improved the county transparency by putting all county financials on line
•Moved crucial land-use and budget hearings to evenings, and webcasting all our hearings, so citizens can see Jeffco government at work anytime
•Increasing support for local non-profits serving seniors, children, distressed families, and disabled children and adults
•Protecting Open Space, community trails and local parks
•Providing needed human services in this economic downturn without increasing taxes.
•Improved the County financial performance including The County’s over-all Fund Balance (or savings account) increased by 48%, from $195 million to $224 million. Jeffco’s General Fund Balance (the portion of our savings not restricted to a specific purpose, such as debt service) has increased 32%, from $44 million to $65 million.

"A two hour debate featuring just the County Commissioner candidates offered the opportunity to deal with many issues in depth. I appreciate the efforts of the sponsors to make the debate possible, including arranging a Skype connection so my opponent, who was out of town for his business, could participate.” I believe the debate highlighted key differences between my opponent and myself regarding conservation and sustainability. While my opponent says he values Open Space, I have actually worked to increase and protect our Open Space, and to expand sustainability initiatives throughout the metro area." Said Commissioner Hartman.

For more information on County Commissioner Kathy Hartman, please contact Jessica Metzler at 720-289-7875; http://www.kathyhartman.org.

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Jessica Metzler
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