December 18, 2023
An End of Year Message from the Boulder County Commissioners
As we come to the end of 2023, the Board of County Commissioners would like to say thank you again to voters for their support for both the Affordable and Attainable Housing ballot measure and the Open Space ballot measure. These ballot measures encompass many of the values of the commissioners, county staff, and the Boulder County community. The overwhelming support the measures received will kickstart great projects and programs that will benefit our residents. Voter support has allowed the county to deliver many essential services and public improvements, such as the Alternative Sentencing Facility, which voters previously funded and on which the county broke ground this summer.
We know that affordable housing and homelessness are at the forefront of many of our minds as the cost of living continues to rise across Colorado. In April, we celebrated with partners when the Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA) received land use approval from Lafayette City Council for Willoughby Corner, which will be one of the largest mixed-use and environmentally sustainable affordable housing neighborhoods ever built in Boulder County. We look forward to seeing this project develop in 2024.
The county continues to coordinate Homeless Solutions for Boulder County (HSBC), our partnership with Boulder, Longmont, and local nonprofits. The commissioners increased funding by an additional $900,000 to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and an additional $300,000 to Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement (HOPE) in Longmont when our partners made clear that increased demand and growing costs meant more resources were crucial for local shelters. We know this is not just a local issue, which is why Commissioner Loachamin has been working as chair of the Metro Mayors Caucus, based in Denver, to coordinate regional solutions and this work will continue into the new year.
The county is not immune to the financial pressures that so many are feeling, which is why the board had to balance tough decisions during the budget process with the need to deliver essential services and further our commitment to a more equitable Boulder County. On Jan. 1, we take one further step in that equity journey when the county’s local minimum wage goes into effect and we move towards a $25 hourly wage by 2030. We received broad support from the community when we announced the local minimum wage in August. However, we know that despite the success Denver has seen since it introduced its minimum wage in 2020, there are still community members and local businesses with concerns. We will work with our business community to provide financial and technical support as we find solutions to ease this transition.
Recovery continues as we near two years since the Marshall Fire. Where we once saw vacant lots, we can now see homes with lights on and cars in the driveway. We recognize everyone is in different stages of recovery and the process has entailed substantial financial hardship. Although our rates of rebuilding have been faster than other communities after a wildfire, we also know that provides little comfort to those who have not yet rebuilt. Our community will always bear the scars of this disaster, and during this difficult time of year, we urge you to be gentle with yourselves and others, and continue to look out for one another. Please continue to access the emotional support services available for everyone.
We believe 2024 holds good things for our community and we look forward to continuing to work with you to create a vibrant and equitable Boulder County.
Claire Levy, Marta Loachamin, and Ashley Stolzmann