INC PARC (Parks and Recreation Committee) met November 21, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at Brookdale, 2020 South Monroe Street.
‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving Eve and City Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien met with PARC members: co-chairs Cindy Johnstone and Maggie Price, Ean Tafoya, Danielle Ongart, Ronnie Crawford, Sonia John, Katie Fisher, Nancy Francis, Karen Miller, Brad Cameron, Matt Zitzmann, Diana Helper. Mike Mierendorf of the Auditor’s Office also was present.
Auditor O’Brien started off by explaining that audits are chosen using a risk assessment including a high value in dollars spent on contracts, length of time since the last audit and other risk assessments. The auditor must sign off on all contracts that go through the City, not for approval or disapproval but for the protection of the citizens’ money being spent. Recent large contracts include the airport 3P, new landing runway, the convention center, and the Western Stock Complex.
Mr. O’Brien distributed copies of Audit Plan 2018, a comprehensive description of the Plan, planned audits, the audit selection process, and the Auditor’s authority. Visit https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-auditor.html for information, and to be included on the Auditor’s e-newsletter, through which you also may comment and ask questions. The auditors phone number is 720-913-5000. He discussed many topics including The Independent Audit Committee he chairs, comprised of two members each appointed by the Mayor, City Council, and the Auditor. Its reports are made public once they are filed by independent audit. Each recommendation by the audit committee is followed up carefully by study of documentation.
PARC said it has long been asking for Denver Parks and Rec numbers regarding costs and income from park use. PARC also is interested in the taking of park property for other uses. O’Brien indicates this accounting is improving, but still problematic. Every city contract includes the requirement of an audit by the City Auditor. PARC emphasized the need of returning park zoning to a form that requires vote of City Council (citizens’ elected channel) for use changes. Mr. O’Brien said that some City Councilpersons are in close contact with his office for information, and all are welcome. Also he is glad to speak to organizations. He finds city tech services are very responsive. He will look into the questionable practice of requiring applicants for city jobs to submit all their personal information by email. PARC thanked him for his attention.
Accomplishments of PARC in 2017 were listed by PARC members, as well as matters that still need attention as goals for 2018. A major goal concerns the return of power to City Council on Park decisions. A resolution concerning this was passed at the November meeting. A PARC subcommittee will work on this starting in January. It was suggested that because the Mayor is now our only elected official making these decisions, we must always contact him (as INC, as PARC, as RNOs, as individuals) with our concerns. Other goals concern more park designations, need for more parks, and for more playing fields, multi use areas.
Updates included lawsuits, Overland Park, the Park Hill Golf Course ( some neighbors desire open space plus enough development for a grocery and some housing—PARC asks about putting this at Clayton light rail redevelopment area?); also 28th & Fairfax site (Maggie presented a letter from the Committee that was written to City Council regarding a plan for a park at 28th and Fairfax, thus fulling a request at the Oct meeting) Red Rocks Conservation Corps, Ruby Hill, fenced areas for parks (PRAB not in favor), unclear zoning of open areas (Sanderson Gulch etc.) and Platte water quality concerns. Ronnie reported the EPA finds arsenic levels are high enough to ban the eating of fish caught in the South Platte. He also told that the river is well stocked and that fishing is great. His group “Troutbums” helped to open Shoemaker Plaza by fishing while the Mayor spoke.
Meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m. Next PARC meeting is Tue., January 16, 2018.—Diana Helper
Notes taken by Diana Helper
Photos by Ronnie Crawford