Aurora City Council members prepare to discuss a controversial proposed ban on homeless people camping in the city during a Feb. 28, 2022 city council meeting. Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | Aurora City Council members are seeking input on proposed changes to the city’s charter, which include moving municipal elections to even-numbered years and making them explicitly partisan.

Other changes could strip gendered language from the charter and give council members pay raises while reclassifying the position as “full-time.”

The changes were proposed by council members to their Charter Review Ad Hoc Policy Committee in August and again this week, when they were approved to move forward for a public hearing.

If approved at a future council meeting by a majority vote, the changes could then be placed on a local election ballot as soon as November.

Councilmember Juan Marcano presented the changes to election procedure, citing research showing that more people and a more representative sample of a city’s population is likely to vote in even-year elections, which coincide with congressional and presidential elections.

Shifting elections to even-numbered years can have the secondary effect of engaging more people who are likely to vote for progressives. Conservatives Francoise Bergan and Angela Lawson opposed the suggestion when it came up in the fall.

Marcano also advocated for requiring candidates to declare a party affiliation or identify as unaffiliated on the ballot, which he said could also help boost participation and help voters identify candidates who share their values.

The party of a council member would also be allowed to pick their replacement if their seat became vacant, or, if the person was unaffiliated, a majority of the people who signed their nominating petition would make the call.

The removal of gendered language was proposed by Councilmember Alison Coombs, who said the use of such language was unnecessary. Lawson said in August that paying council members and the mayor more would open the job up to people who are unable to juggle the responsibilities of a full-time job with serving as an elected official.

In the fall, it was reported that Aurora council members make $20,063 per year, while the mayor pro tem makes $22,286 and the mayor makes $86,758.

The proposed pay schedule — based on an analysis by the city’s Human Resources Department, which also looked at out-of-state cities as well as the responsibilities of the jobs — sets compensation for council members at $67,889, for the mayor pro tem at $82,437 and for the mayor at $96,984.

The Charter Review Ad Hoc Policy Committee encourages residents, business owners and other members of the public to attend one of two public hearings to share their thoughts on the existing charter and the proposed changes.

The charter was approved by voters in 1961 and has been amended periodically since then. 

Hearings on the proposed changes are scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on March 18, and at 7 p.m. on April 11, at the Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway. Remote participation options will also be available, and the meetings will be streamed on YouTube.

Each speaker will have 3 minutes to provide their comments. Attendees can sign up to speak at the hearings but are encouraged to sign up in advance at Those speakers who signed up in advance will be called on to speak first.

Join the Conversation


  1. These suggestions make sense, and the pay is very low for the Council positions and the level of work and harassment has risen. However, I do not want to see Coffman in office another minute longer than necessary so if changing elections means he’s around longer, I vote no on that.

    1. Your continuing bashing of our wonderful Mayor, Mike Coffman, is underwhelming.

      Your lack of knowledge of Aurora politics is overwhelming.

      None of these ideas make sense unless you are a socialist or believe highly in pronouns and what they represent.

      1. In your reply, “Your,” (used twice) “our,” “None,” “these,” “you,” and “they” are all pronouns. Since you use them so much, you obviously believe in them highly, too.
        Your lack of knowledge of pronouns is not surprising. I suggest that you go back to school, get an education, and return to this forum when you can converse like an adult.

  2. Perhaps the full-time job status and pay increase would be good IF it allowed more citizens to consider serving AND the council actually fixed the police department, youth violence, home affordability, and the persistent scourge of “urban campers.”

  3. We have too much partisan government already. And moving to A schedule matching national voting seems to mean party line voting more than the opportunity to look at platforms and desired stands on issues. Bad idea to make “full time”, council has other jobs and with benefits that is a lot of money for the important but occasional meetings- we need citizen advocates not paid positions… gender language yes- the rest is not in the best interest of auroraians . Unless you are a friend that can be a replacement for a vacating seat- it is just more bad government.

    1. Council now meets every Monday – wasn’t like that in the past. They also have at least two committee meetings they are responsible for, as well as meetings on boards and commissions.

      I’ve thought they deserved a pay raise for a long time.

      It certainly qualifies for a full time job and a pay raise.

      It will also be very helpful to have a D or R on the ballots.

  4. Pretty much a multifaceted scheme to mobilize more democrats as useful idiots.

    Declaring party and moving to even years is a cynical ploy to encourage straight-line partisan voting. Perfect for those too lazy or stupid to consider actual qualifications.

    On that note, full-time seats would be a move towards mediocrity with bottom-feeders and unemployed coming out of the woodwork. It would eliminate many of the most qualified from running at all, as they’d undoubtedly already be employed at a much higher salary, leaving only retirees available to do the grown-up city council business thinking.

    Let me put it this way: full-time council would be a demotion for the majority of the council. Only Murillo, Medina, and Coombs likely make less than the figures thrown out here. May be a toss-up for Marcano, IF he can get a job.

    Next idea from the bearded comrade: 10:1 matching “Fair Election” fund. Then you’ll see some real clown show elections (like Denver) financed by taxpayers.

  5. The current system is meant to focus attention on the local election, it being the primary matter on the ballot. Without the noise and distraction of a national presidential election and a gubernatorial election municipal issues would be front and center.

    Under the new system participation likely will go up, but the local issues are likely to recieve less attention by voters who are concentrating on other races and issues. Voters will likely vote party line on a ballot. Whether that is a good thing who knows, but party politics over issue politics has left many cities in a shambles. Of course our current system has lead to Aurora having a crime problem, a police department under a consent decree, homelessness exploding on our streets, auto theft and gun play rampant, water restrictions on the horizon, and a petulent council so interested in shouting down their political opposition, not their colleagues but the percieved oppositio, that council cannot even fill a vacancy on council that will serve for a few sessions before the next election even after well over 100 votes.

    Frankly until we grow as a people, return to civility and cooperation finding common ground even with those with whom we disagree tinkering with elections will be nothing more than trying to manipulate the rules for a power grab. It will not produce better government. I have seen the enemy, and it is us.

    1. I don’t agree with you, but I want to thank you for offering a thoughtful, substantial opinion.

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