WHAT I BELIEVE
By Françoise Bergan
Most residents of southeast Aurora chose to live here because it felt like a great place with quality attainable housing, exceptional schools, amenities, and natural beauty in a safe environment.
We want excellent city resources that enhance our quality of life—police and fire service, recreational facilities, manicured parks, street lighting, smart traffic management and dependable utilities, among other things. We are fortunate to live in a city that annually balances its budget while delivering exceptional service; I believe we can always improve.
Simply, I will continue to advocate relentlessly to ensure that Ward VI is never overlooked when dollars—yours and mine—are invested in the Aurora community.
Quality of Life
I will continue to coordinate with residents, departments, and city management to ensure families are able to enjoy our great outdoors, whether by maintaining infrastructure, improving recreational facilities, or protecting and enhancing the beauty of natural, open spaces.
I am particularly proud of a tenacious effort culminating in Ward VI’s first city-owned recreation center and fieldhouse. After years of advocating, pursuing funding, public engagement, design and construction, the Southeast Recreation Center and Fieldhouse officially opened in January 2023.
I am a relentless advocate for our parks – Red-tailed Hawk Park, Tollgate Crossing, and Dome Park (pending funding). I have supported numerous trail expansions by leveraging mitigation funds negotiated with Xcel Energy, as well as serving on the board for our partnership with the E-470 Public Highway Authority.
Always a top priority, I work closely with local law enforcement, emergency medical services, and fire departments to build relationships, stay current on community needs, and ensure excellent services, while promoting flexible funding to meet both current and future needs.
Through some especially challenging years for police and dispatch, I have supported pay raises, and bonuses for police, fire and 911 operators. I’ve sponsored ordinances to crack down on street racing and illegal marijuana grow houses in our neighborhoods. I recently put my support behind Motor Vehicle Theft and Retail Theft ordinances to apply stricter penalties for these crimes at the municipal level.
Every tax-paying citizen deserves roads in well-connected, well-maintained roads year-round. I continually work with the city services to address traffic needs considering the growing population and anticipated new development. I am your liaison to the city in our effort to plan, prepare and repair.
Naturally, it consumes much of my time with constituents. I work tirelessly to resolve issues of traffic safety, and even advocate for design standard changes to address issues such as drainage in our unique topography and soils. During and unseasonably high snowfall, I’ve turned my attention to snow removal for residential areas. We are currently evaluating a program that would allow metro districts/HOAs to provide individual solutions while protecting the city (and your tax dollars) from liability, and I have sponsored a resolution to rollover any balance of funds to help mitigate shortfalls during years of heavy snowfall.
I supported a novel plan to eliminate a road maintenance deficit that was merely nibbled at for years. It will address years of neglect and immediately prioritize residential roads based on their condition.
Commercial and retail development is a community’s lifeblood. Businesses attract the people and related services that create a cycle of opportunity and prosperity. I will continue to encourage responsible, sustainable development to ensure southeast Aurora stays a great place to live, work, learn and play.
Some examples include the Bioscience Campus at Fitzsimons Innovation Campus, Gaylord Resort & Conference Center, the Hyatt Conference Center, Amazon, Karcher, Subaru, Chase Data Center, and many others.
Tax on retail sales is the number-one source of Aurora’s revenue to provide and improve essential city services. I continue to support retail growth, simplifying processes and making the city and Ward VI friendly for small businesses while promoting an environment to attract quality companies.
One such initiative encouraged the city to activate vacant space for a marquis tenant to catalyze other desirable tenants. An incentive that I sponsored was unanimously approved by the council in 2022 and helped Southlands secure Nordstrom Rack, as well as another potential entertainment enterprise.
Although our city has no authority over our schools, I will continue to support collaboration between schools and businesses. I will bridge the partnership between local law enforcement and schools to ensure safe environments for learning and in fact hosted a public forum for CTHS and other schools in my ward to address safety protocols with our police department. Additionally, I have addressed middle school students on the role of city government and often speak to various boy scout, girl scout and cub scout dens and troops.
Although the counties have the responsibility of Health and Human Resource (welfare programs, etc.), we have committed to trying to help those experiencing homelessness. We have funded many nonprofits – especially Comitis shelter, the Day Resource Center, Salvation Army, Restoration Church, and others. We have invested millions of dollars per year and recently passed a camping ban that address the safety and hygiene concerns of residents and businesses, while providing alternative shelter for those camping. We also have assisted people with rental assistance, evictions, finding housing based on their needs.
Providing an environment that encourages developers to build attainable housing has been a top issue for council over the last few years. In 2019, I was a champion to allow small lots in new developments – reducing the cost of housing. As a member of the Red Tape Ad Hoc committee, we held several public hearings to better understand their concerns about processes and burdensome regulations. Staff is working to address those concerns by streamlining process, reorganization of our Public Works department, hiring additional staff and eliminating some unnecessary regulations for small businesses.
You may have heard the expression that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting. Water is a precious and limited resource that we must ensure that there is an adequate supply into our future. As a member of the water policy committee over several years, I understand the need for additional storage, innovative recapturing technology, conservation, and balancing growth.