Go Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

The Google Boulder campus, the host of Go Code Colorado’s 2018 mentor weekend. (Go Code photo)

Go Code Colorado‘s fifth annual mentor weekend kicked off last Friday at the new Google campus in Boulder.

Go Code is a statewide business app challenge housed in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The award-winning challenge is the first and only statewide effort of its kind that uses public data to solve business problems. It is overseen by staffer Andrew Cole.

This year’s finalist apps focus on housing development, food trucks, childcare and transportation.

Andrew Cole explaining the 2018 “Go Code challenge coin” to the crowd on Friday. (Go Code photo)

Cole thanked the teams for helping to make public data in Colorado more accessible. He then handed out a “2018 Go Code challenge coin,” similar to challenge coins that military members receive upon finishing boot camp. He explained that the story goes if a military member is caught without his coin, drinks are on that person.

Mentor weekend provides an opportunity for all 10 teams to receive mentorship by leaders from Boom Town AcceleratorCA TechnologiesGoogleHouse of GeniusTwitter and other minds from Colorado’s tech and entrepreneurial community.

This years competition kicked off Feb. 7 in Denver. In attendance were Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his predecessor, Scott Gessler, who was in office when the Go Code Colorado challenge began, as well as various SOS staffers and Colorado lawmakers.

The challenge weekend began April 13 in five cities statewide: Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction and Fort Collins. Two teams from each location were named finalists, awarded $2,500 each and headed to Boulder for mentor weekend April 27-29.

Read moreGo Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

Secretary Williams doesn’t have a magic wand but …

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Chuck Berry, president of the Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry, at CACI’s board meeting April 19. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told business leaders recently that he and other state officials are working to help create a single system for new businesses to interact with multiple state agencies.

MyBizColorado, when it is unveiled, will be user friendly, intuitive and a more expedient way to register a business and obtain necessary licenses and permits.

“We want to make it easier for business,” Williams told the Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry at a board of directors lunch meeting.

After his talk, Williams was asked, “If you could wave a magic wand to fix a few things what would they be?”

“The ability to get from Colorado Springs to Denver in a shorter amount of time,” said Williams, who commutes on Interstate 25.

Read moreSecretary Williams doesn’t have a magic wand but …

Colorado cities, towns hold elections Tuesday

Greeley Tribune photo.

Aside from all the buzz surrounding the upcoming primary elections, it is important to remember that 120 cities and towns in Colorado are holding elections Tuesday.

Coloradans will be voting on candidates, ballot questions, or both. Issues on the ballots range from various tax questions to providing broadband service, according to the Colorado Municipal League.

“In cities and towns across Colorado voters have the opportunity to make critical decisions about their local area and government,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams said. “We’ve worked with local clerks to make this year’s election more secure than ever by making available information so that signatures can be verified on each and every mail ballot.  We’re proud of this partnership to ensure the integrity of Colorado’s elections.”

Here is an overview of the issues:

Broadband
Colorado statutes require an election to allow a municipality to provide broadband service or partner with the private sector to provide that service, and voters in 86 cities and towns have already said yes. This spring, Firestone, Frisco, Lake City, Limon, Lyons and Severance will ask their voters for authorization to move forward in providing broadband.

Marijuana
In separate questions, Naturita voters will decide whether to allow marijuana sales, manufacturing, testing or cultivation, as well as whether to implement a marijuana sales tax and/or excise tax. Berthoud is asking their voters if municipally licensed medical marijuana dispensaries should be allowed to add retail sales.

Marijuana taxes are being considered in Crawford, Delta, Orchard City, Ordway and Yuma.

Term limits
Pagosa Springs voters will consider whether to impose term limits of two consecutive four-year terms, voters in Glendale will decide if their mayor and council members shall be limited to three consecutive four-year terms, and Lyons voters will be asked if their mayor and trustees should be allowed to serve four consecutive two-year terms. Red Cliff voters will be asked if they would like to eliminate term limits.

Tax and bond issues
Fruita voters will be asked to allow the city to retain all revenues from 2019 through 2024.
Alma, Elizabeth, and Lyons are requesting authorization to implement a lodging tax.
Sales tax questions are on the ballot around the state:
• Arriba, Ignacio, Limon – new tax for capital improvements
• Nederland – new tax for roads
• Orchard City – new tax for roads and law enforcement services
• Crestone, Crook, Paonia – new tax for general operating expenses
• La Veta – extension of taxes for museum expenses and street improvements
• Milliken – extension of tax for capital improvements
• Glendale – modification of sales tax to remove earmark restricting use to water related purposes
• Cortez – extension of tax for family recreation center

Basalt is requesting a tax on the sale of tobacco and nicotine products.

Pitkin and Wiley are requesting a mill levy increase to fund streets and related improvements, while Carbondale is asking to extend a current mill levy for the same purpose. Orchard City is requesting a mill levy increase to be used for both roads and public safety expenses, while Ault’s requested mill levy increase is not earmarked for specific use.

Debt authority is being requested by:
• Eckley – $165,000 for sanitation system improvements
• Erie – $13.75 million for a town hall expansion, with authorization to increase mill levy if necessary for repayment
• Limon – $8.68 million for capital improvements
• Nederland – $2 million for wastewater improvements

Publication requirements
To save money on publication costs, Crook, Hugo, Kersey, Lake City, Milliken, and Springfield are requesting authorization to publish ordinances by title only. Pitkin is requesting authorization to no longer publish the bills list or contracts awarded.

Election date
Morrison and Palmer Lake voters will decide whether to move their regular town elections to November of even-numbered years.

Administrative charter amendments
Glendale and Morrison are asking their voters to eliminate, clarify, or otherwise update obsolete provisions of their home rule charter.

Other issues
Other issues to be decided include:
• Antonito – sale of a public building
• Berthoud – 32.44 acre annexation
• Erie – sale of 0.65 acres of town land
• Frisco – sale or lease of a community park for residential use
• Pagosa Springs – remove council districts and provide for council members to be elected at large

 

Go Code Colorado: another year of data-driven competition

Simon Tafoya, the policy director for Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Secretary of State Wayne Williams, at the Go Code Colorado challenge kickoff Wednesday night in Denver (SOS photo)

Colorado’s funkiest and most fun data contest — Go Code Colorado — kicked off Wednesday night, marking the fifth year that the Secretary of State’s office has invited creative minds to use public information to build a product that helps businesses.

“We work hard to make data available and usable for Colorado businesses,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams said in his opening remarks.

Previous winners have developed a range of projects. One helped small farmers locate farmers markets and price information. Another created a platform for companies to connect with potential employees based on personality match.

Sen. Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat, heaped praise on the Secretary of State’s office and the award-winning Go Code Colorado program during last year’s competition.

“This is, in my opinion, the epitome of how we should be thinking about government moving forward,” he said. “We should be thinking about how to take the assets and the innovation of the new industries that are popping up around tech and see how that expertise and that talent solves some of the problems that maybe government can’t do on its own.”

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Hard work, hackers & hikers — Here’s to the Colorado clerks conference

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico and Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers at the Colorado County Clerks Association Conference in Snowmass Village. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

Colorado’s county clerks and their staffs learned about election security and costs, Motor Vehicle registration kiosks and privacy vs. public access from a stakeholder’s viewpoint at their conference in Snowmass Village this week.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams addressed the Colorado County Clerks Association on Tuesday, outlining legislation his office advocated for, the state’s leading status when it comes to voter turnout and registration, and future training to learn about election audits.

“Let me tell you how much I appreciate the opportunity to work with you and how much I and my staff appreciate your … commitment to ensuring that our elections are run with integrity,” Williams said.

Top officials with the Colorado County Clerks Association include Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell, the president-elect, executive director Pam Anderson, and Logan County Clerk Pam Bacon, the CCCA president. (SOS photo)

Pam Anderson, the former Jefferson County clerk and the executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, said 54 of the state’s 64 county clerk offices sent representatives to the summer conference.

County clerks have a variety of responsibilities, from elections to motor vehicles to recording documents, such as marriage licenses and titles.

The titles of the conferences over the three-day workshop reflected that: “Creative Solutions for Long Lines,” “Election Integrity in the Current Political & Media Environment” and a “History of Paper & Demographics.”

Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell, the president-elect of the clerks association, said she and her staffers learned plenty at the seminars. “They were really well done,” she said.

Read moreHard work, hackers & hikers — Here’s to the Colorado clerks conference