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Metro Mayors Caucus Background, Principle Issues and Interests

The Metro Mayors Caucus (Caucus) is a voluntary collaboration of 40 mayors in the Denver metropolitan region. Mayors formed the Caucus in 1993 to provide a non-partisan vehicle for regional dialogue and cooperation on issues that transcend individual municipal boundaries.

Initiated with the financial support of a few member municipalities, in 1995 and 1996 the Caucus received additional support through grants from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs had expressed an interest in expanding cooperation between local governments and enhancing local capacity to address public issues. In subsequent years, Caucus member municipalities have provided the funding through dues paid by each city based on their population.

Before the Caucus, the metro area lacked a noncompetitive forum for dialogue to address a broad range of regional issues. Since 1993, the Caucus has provided a coordinated response to complex challenges such as drought, youth violence, transportation, growth management, affordable housing and homelessness, air quality, energy conservation, wellness, and hunger.

Priorities Since 1993

  • Transportation Funding & Mobility Infrastructure Build-out
  • Affordable/Workforce Housing
  • Homelessness and Hunger
  • Smart/Sustainable Growth
  • Energy Efficiency & Conservation
  • Water Conservation
  • Health & Wellness
  • Legislative Relations

Steady Support for Multi-Modal Transportation

Throughout its history, the Caucus has continually supported the shift from auto oriented transportation choices to providing Coloradans with an array of multi-modal alternatives. Expansion of light rail and other mobility options became priorities for the Caucus in 1996 and remain a top issue today. The Caucus formally supported several specific transit initiatives including:

  • The Southwest Corridor’s Full Funding Grant Agreement in 1996
  • Guide the Ride system expansion measure in 1997
  • Mode flexible funding under Senate Bill 97-001
  • FasTracks rail transit expansion in 2004
  • MMC FasTracks Task Force to develop/build support for solutions to funding shortfall from 2008 to 2013
  • FASTER legislation passage in 2009
  • Statewide initiative to provide new, permanent, dedicated, multi-modal revenue source for transportation in Colorado through MPACT64, Colorado Contractors Association 2016 initiative, and Let’s Go Colorado, Proposition 110.

Housing Cost & Availability

Early in Caucus history, members identified reducing housing cost and increasing availability, as a clear regional priority. The Caucus responded to this over the years in a variety of ways, including: 

  • An 11-year program beginning in 1997, providing first-time homebuyers with low interest mortgages and downpayment assistance funded with over $211 million in mortgage revenue bonds; 
  • A $63 million dollar private activity bond program in partnership with CHFA for the financing of new multi-family rental housing near transit; and 
  • Beginning in 2013, a focus on hunger and homelessness that led to:

— Region-wide effort to identify and implement summer food sites 

— Participation in the Close to Home Colorado public will building campaign 

— A Landlord incentive fund created by Caucus members to incentivize landlords to lease vacant units to homeless persons with housing vouchers  

— Participation in the IBM Smarter Cities Grant program to develop ways to address the homeless problem regionally including through development of common intake and data storage systems.

Governmental Relations

Addressing regional priorities frequently requires collaboration among various levels of government and the public and private sectors. Maintaining regular communication with the aforementioned partners improves the quality of services and public policy solutions. Because the Caucus is a program of Civic Results which is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, it is prohibited from lobbying and the majority of the work conducted on behalf of the Caucus is educational in nature. The unique expertise of mayors and the information they are able to share on behalf of their governing body and citizens are critical to forming sound policy. The Caucus helps by establishing lines of communication and creating opportunities to build effective working relationships within this network of public, private and governmental entities and agencies. When legislation or other action by a governmental body is of interest to the Caucus, we ensure that the mayors have the most up to date information and analysis of any proposal. If the Caucus takes a position that has a direct bearing on any legislation, rule-making, or other similar decision-making, that position is communicated to decision-makers. The Caucus also shares positions, concerns, and analyses with partner organizations that have lobbying authority such as CML,DRCOG and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and supports their efforts in ways that we are allowed.

Sustainable Growth

  • 1995 - 97 Building consensus on key components of DRCOG’s Metro Vision
  • 1997 - 98 Governor’s Smart Growth Awards for housing programs
  • 1999 - Work with legislators to define acceptable growth management legislation
  • 2000 - draft & execute “Mile High Compact” with DRCOG voluntarily binding signers to implement  Metro Vision
  • 39 jurisdictions (more than 85% of metro area population) sign
  • 2004 - Unanimous support for FasTracks build-out critical to shaping region

Water Conservation

  • 2003 - Participants in drafting Colorado 64 Principals
  • 2001 - 2004 Sustained drought - regional conservation & tree canopy preservation campaign
  • 2003 - More than 20 billion gallons saved region-wide (30%) through coordinated voluntary conservation campaign
  • 2004 - Conservation & Stewardship MOU – 28 cities commit to ongoing conservation & efficiency measures and programs
  • 2005 - develop Best Management Practices for Water Conservation
  • 2013 - 2015 Water Committee work on Colorado Water Plan

Energy Conservation & Efficiency

  • 2006 - Drafted & unanimously approved MOU among 37 members to…
  • Recognize efficiency as critically under-utilized resource in meeting growing energy demand
  • Encourage information sharing
  • Promote programs that increase access to resources & reduce the costs of efficiency upgrades
  • 2012 - 2014 Energy efficiency seminar series for local officials (DOE Better Buildings Grant)

Health & Wellness

  • 2006 - Metro Denver Health and Wellness Commission Founding partner
  • 2006 - 2009 Mayors very active on Commission
  • 2007 - 2009 Mayors co-chair Healthiest Communities Team
  • 2007 - 2010 MOU signed by 30 cities commits to 427 policies, programs or environmental changes to promote wellness

2010 - Metro Mayors Caucus absorbs Healthiest Communities responsibilities

  • 2011 - Metro Mayors Caucus launches initiatives:
  • Let's Move - White House program
  • Summer Food for children in poverty

Catherine Marinelli, Peter Kenney, and Meghan White staff the Metro Mayors Caucus. Catherine can be reached via email at Peter can be reached at Meghan can be reached at .