Dear Fellow Lafayette Residents,
I hope this message finds you all safe, sound, and healthy.
It’s hard to believe November is already here. While 2020 seems to be a blur, there have been many times this year I have felt it will never end! Here’s to a safe and speedy completion of the next two months.
Three huge issues have had an unprecedented impact on our community and our organization including the COVID-19 pandemic; race relations, injustice, tension, and equity; and the cyberattack on our City. Alone, each of these would have been immensely difficult. Having all three occur, overlapping within one year, has made a profound impact mentally, emotionally, and professionally on our community, friends, and colleagues. Never has leadership, communication, community, and organizational assurance with consistent, good decision making been more important.
COVID Level Orange: High Risk
On Nov. 6, the State moved Boulder County to the more restrictive COVID Safer at Home Level Orange: High Risk on the State dial. This is due to the highest increase of COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The hospitalization peaks we’re experiencing are above those suffered in March and are exponentially increasing at an alarming rate. “COVID fatigue” is a real dynamic and our public health officials are urging residents to limit unnecessary interactions, continue washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing. You can view the reduced business capacities and other gathering restrictions on the State’s Level Orange Level Restrictions guidelines. The county will remain at the Orange level until there is improvement (or worsening) of COVID-19 case activity in the County.
2021 adopted City Budget
While Councilors and staff are managing the effects of COVID, the City continues our daily efforts to provide essential services to the community. One such responsibility fulfilled this month was the adoption of our 2021 Budget. The City’s $79.8 million budget prioritizes a shift from one-off requests to long-term strategic plans while aligning organizational structure with dedicated resources and ongoing revenue sources. Lafayette is fortunate to have a beneficial mix of businesses that have allowed us to sustain our 2020 revenue projections. To date, our revenue collection is only down .17% and we are projecting flat revenues for 2021. Shopping locally and supporting our small businesses is important, and we ask that you please do so in a responsible and safe manner.
Moving forward over the next several years, the City will be investing a considerable amount of money in significant water and transportation projects. It’s important to make sure developers and builders are paying their fair share of infrastructure costs, so next year we will also embark on a number of studies which will assist us to ensure the way we are doing business and providing services are meeting the needs of the City and our community.
If you’re interested in reviewing the 2021 budget or presentations, visit the list of resources available at lafayette-listens.com/2021budgetprocess.
Community pandemic assistance
In order to provide some relief to the disruption of our local businesses, and offer help for those residents struggling to make ends meet, the City invested in a second round of small business grants and an additional contribution to local community support agencies this month. The City, along with the Lafayette Urban Renewal Authority’s monetary commitment, appropriated over $464,000 for small business grants in November. This was in addition to the $433,000 in grants awarded in April. City Council also approved a supplemental contribution of $100,000 that went to Sister Carmen Community Center, Meals on Wheels, and Community Food Share. It is our hope that this support provides some much-needed relief and sustenance for our community.
Focus on economic sustainability
The pandemic has brought with it a component of economic unsteadiness. To prepare the City for future market shifts and allow for desirable development and the retention of existing businesses, an Economic Development Manager and Sales Tax Manager have been hired. These two strategic positions will provide the City with business analysis and proactive tactics to better align Lafayette for a positive employment and revenue in the future.
In all of this, know that your City is here for you. Despite the difficulty communities are experiencing nationally, Lafayette is enduring challenges and rising to the occasion. We are looking at a positive budget outlook for 2021 and have been in a position to provide aid to our community members in need.
We did not ask for this, nor did we provoke this disruption and uncertainty in our lives. I do ask for your continued diligence to fight the COVID pandemic by avoiding gatherings and following the health protocols set forth by our medical experts. Please be vigilant. The winter months will bring continued challenges for our residents and it will require perseverance and courage. I know it has been a long struggle and we should never underestimate our ability to be resilient and rise above this with a unity of action and the spirit that makes Lafayette great.
Lafayette City Administrator