Ending Aurora City Council meeting packed with controversy Monday night


AURORA | City lawmakers return to the dais on Monday — after a close election and contentious meeting earlier this month — to decide on two oil and gas leases, economic development incentives and a one-year pension contribution bump for Aurora police officers.

New members of the Aurora City Council, including Mayor-elect Mike Coffman, will not be sworn in until December.

This week, the current city council is asp expected to discuss a proposal to restrict when and where people can protest in the city at its study session. 

The code revision, initiated by council member Francoise Bergan, was introduced after protesters with local activist groups Denver Communists and Abolish ICE Denver waved signs and chanted in front of the southeast Aurora home of Johnny Choate, who is the warden of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in north Aurora.

Protesters with Abolish ICE stopped and forced city business to a different room at the Nov. 5 meeting. In reaction, city lawmakers later agreed by a 6-4 vote to suspend any public comment if protesters return and persist.

On Monday, lawmakers will consider two oil and gas leases during its study session and regular meeting. The deals were first discussed in executive session. 

Council member Nicole Johnston voiced concerns at the Nov. 5 meeting about dual listing the lease deals, which would allow the city to lease mineral rights to Aspired Energy. The potential leases come from an unsolicited proposal, according to city staff. That proposal caused the city to seek request for proposals from multiple energy companies.

Council members are expected to formally approve a one-year increase to the pensions of the city’s police officers. The city will increase contributions from 10.5 percent to 12 percent until 2021. Barring any further negotiations, the rate will return to 10.5 percent.

Denver has been siphoning police officers and firefighters from Aurora, according to city data. Part of the reason, staff say, is better pay and the difference in pension plans between the two cities.

City council members may approve an incentive deal for Shamrock foods, which is looking to build a 850,000 square foot distribution facility. The deal would allow for a 10-year tax rebate up to approximately $1.1 million, according to city documents. If Shamrock builds the facility in Aurora, the company would bring 843 full-time jobs with an average annual salary of about $65,000 with benefits.

Another incentive deal would allow RK Mission Critical, a full-service mechanical construction company, to earn tax rebates up to approximately $37,000. The company, which is considering leasing 140,000 share feet within the Majestic Commercecenter, would reportedly invest nearly $1.5 million into its expansion into Aurora. 

Within seven years, the company would be required by the deal to create 85 new jobs with an average salary of $84,105 plus benefits.

— Staff Writer Quincy Snowdon contributed to this report