Aurora lawmakers gird Monday for minimum wage battle, bills affecting pets, restaurants and homeless people

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AURORA | In a jam-packed city council meeting Monday, Aurora lawmakers are poised to consider a pared-down minimum wage increase, a youth violence reduction plan and funding for the city’s constellation of homeless and low-income service providers. They’ll also cast final votes on a campaign finance reform and sweeping animal rules.

Councilmembers Alison Coombs and Juan Marcano revised their plan to incrementally raise Aurora’s bottom wage to $17 an hour in 2025. In September, a majority of lawmakers nixed their effort to gradually raise the minimum wage to $20 per hour by 2027. 

If the proposal becomes law, the minimum wage would rise from $12 an hour this year to:

  • $12.60 in 2021
  • $13.23 in 2022
  • $14.55 in 2023
  • $16.00 in 2024
  • $17.00 in 2025

After 2025, the minimum wage would continue to keep up with hikes in the U.S. Consumer Price Index.

The city council will also cast their first votes on a would-be partnership with Denver to combat youth violence in the region. 

The partnership would pool resources to help young Aurorans and Denverites build peaceful and prosperous lives. It’s one of several measures Aurora lawmakers are mulling to tamp down youth violence. 

And lawmakers will consider approving a long list of contracts with homeless and low-income service providers. 

Notably, the city has proposed funding Mile High Behavioral Healthcare with $1.9 million, mostly from marijuana tax funds and federal dollars, to operate a slew of resources including a proposed temporary, winter shelter for homeless people.

Lawmakers will also levy their final votes on a sweeping law reforming campaign finance rules. They’ll also weigh whether to finalize a massive animal ordinance that sets up regulations for dangerous animals and allows residents to care for feral and roaming cats. The rules don’t change the city’s controversial breed-restricted ordinance. 

In both a study session and on the council floor, lawmakers will debate whether to temporarily cap fees paid by restaurants to third party companies for food delivery services. 

In the plan, companies such as Uber Eats and GrubHub could charge restaurants no more than 15% of the order value in fees until April 2021.

The move is driven by concerns that struggling restaurants aren’t able to capture dollars from their own services as customers increasingly order in meals, rather than don a mask and sit down in local establishments facing capacities limitations because of the new coronavirus surge.

Lawmakers will also discuss several transportation-minded matters, including whether to form an inter-governmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation to build up pedestrian crosswalks, sidewalks  and bicycling lanes in north Aurora. 

The new, “green infrastructure” developments would span roughly from the Anschutz Medical Campus to the Stanley Marketplace along arteries in the area.