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Legacy Awards recognize city accomplishments

(Dec 22, 2011)

In honor of the City of Westminster’s centennial year in 2011, the city recognized 19 programs and projects to celebrate the accomplishments the city has made, and the employees who have dedicated themselves to quality service for the community.

The Legacy Award, which will only be granted this year, is a recognition of significant events over the past decade that have contributed to the city’s progress.

A total of 19 programs and projects were selected for the 2011 Legacy Award. The award will be permanently displayed in the lobby at City Hall.

Summaries of the award winners appear below.

City Public Safety 2A Adoption

Westminster voters approved the “2A” ballot measure, a 0.6% tax increase, in November of 2003. The funding enabled the City of Westminster to significantly increase financial resources in order to enhance safety in the community. The passing of this ballot measure fundamentally changed public safety in Westminster and meets the City’s goal of ensuring a safe and secure community. 

Citywide Succession Planning Initiatives

Succession planning at the City is a purposeful and proactive strategy with a future forward approach. The approach is multi-tiered and on-going, reaching all levels of the organization to develop leaders, maintain the values and culture of the organization and preserve institutional knowledge. Efforts are aimed at a continued focus on initiatives to assist the city in maintaining an operationally healthy and financially sustainable organization.  This approach reinforces our mission, vision and values while adapting to the changing needs of the organization and world. 

Community Armed Forces Tribute Garden

Westminster’s Armed Forces Tribute Garden is a permanent tribute designed to respectfully honor those who serve or have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or Merchant Marines.  The Garden has garnered the respect and financial support of other public agencies, private business, nonprofit agencies, community groups and individuals who donated funds for bricks and flagpoles, and from volunteers who help maintain the site. The Tribute Garden serves as a gathering place to honor and appreciate the service and sacrifice of those who serve our country and will serve as a legacy for many. 

Community Planning and Vision

Over the course of the past 10 years, the city has grown substantially. Many departments and individuals have been involved with the growth and have been pivotal in carrying out the vision set forth by City Council and city leadership. Community Development has led this charge and was instrumental in implementing council’s goals for development. They played a vital role of “vision carrier” and implementer of that vision in all facets of community development, with substantial impact to the residents of Westminster. This “legacy” of requiring excellent development will be enjoyed by residents for years to come. 

Community Rental Housing Maintenance Program

The Rental Housing Maintenance Program was established in 1997.  Initiated to address the deteriorating rental housing stock, the program has met and surpassed many challenges and is currently used as a model for other cities. The program promotes safe and sanitary rental housing choices for citizens of Westminster and aids in elongating the life of our rental housing stock. This is seen as a legacy moment as it provides a safe and vibrant neighborhood now and for future generations. 

Electronic Sales Tax Filing Service

F.A.S.T. (Fully Automated Sales Tax) Filing is an Internet-based, electronic sales/use tax filing and payment service for Westminster taxpayers. The city administers and collects its own sales and use tax, and this service has had a direct impact on city revenues. The city was the first municipality to introduce electronic filing of municipal sales tax in Colorado. It is an example of visionary ideas that years later become legacy moments.   

Employee Branding Initiative – “Apply Yourself”

The city embarked on an effort to brand the organization as an Employer of Choice in 2009. This effort resulted in the creation and integration of the “Apply Yourself” brand, which clearly articulates who we are as an employer and attracts talent with similar values. Employees are at the heart of our organizational strength and the branding message supports the goal to recruit top talent that will impact the organization long into the future. 

Employee Wellness Program

Westminster’s Employee Wellness Program began in 1986, and over the past ten years there has been significant focus on wellness objectives and how these objectives fit into a long range sustainable health insurance plan. This has been pivotal in positioning the city in a very favorable position when it comes to negotiating health insurance cost increases. The health conscious culture of the city is one that has benefited the employee, the ity and ultimately the community now and in the future. 

Focused Workweek

The move to a four day work week schedule is a great example of innovation. This change represents care to our environment and natural resources, as well as family well-being and the city’s willingness to try something different. The longstanding affects of this change is a legacy moment for the city. 

Geographic Information Systems - Tax Auditing

The city developed a process for using the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for a variety of tax administration solutions. The use of GIS in sales tax auditing has literally changed the way audits are completed. Since sales and use tax is the city’s primary source of revenue, this transformation was critically important for the audit program and the financial resources of the city. 

Grant Administration Policy

In the summer of 2006, the Accounting Division proposed development of a citywide grant administration policy. The city receives millions of dollars in grants and proper accounting, and accountability is critical. The project goal was to produce consistent guidelines relevant to various aspects of managing a grant. In December 2008, a grant administration policy and procedures were implemented and is a model for other local governments. The process and systems in place will be the foundation for grant management at the city for many years to come. 

Irving Street Park and Library

The Irving Street Public Park and Library serves as the cornerstone of the South Westminster Revitalization Project. Built in 2004, the park and library serves a diverse population, and is a gathering place for families to enjoy park facilities, concerts and library programs. Building the Irving Street Park and Library has contributed greatly to the quality of life in South Westminster and serves as a legacy moment for the city and the many families who enjoy the facilities. 

Pension Plan – Target Retirement Date Funds

In April 2005, the general employee pension and police pension boards added target retirement date funds to the fund option line-up within the pension plans. The inclusion of the target retirement date funds, as well as the model portfolios, is one of the most important innovations for our pension plan. These funds provide a one-stop portfolio that helps participants in our defined contributions plans with two areas of retirement planning: asset allocation and rebalancing. This innovative idea has helped many employees who are uncomfortable with selection funds and rebalancing, making the retirement planning process simpler for many employees. 

Police Citizen’s Academy

The Westminster Police Department Police Academy began in 1997 and has a profound impact on our community and city. The 14-week program provides an in-depth, transparent look into the daily activities of the police department. It strives to educate the general public, as well as provides a forum for the police department to listen to the community. This outreach program educates, opens lines of communication and builds bridges, which will benefit both the city and the community for years to come.

Public Safety Recognition Foundation

The Westminster Public Safety Recognition Foundation (WPSRF) was formed in 2002 after the events of Sept.11, 2001, with the goal of recognizing bravery, heroism and acts beyond the call of duty in the name of public safety. The foundation is a unique public/private partnership that supports the city’s mission to enhance the quality of life through SPIRIT. Due to this partnership, the events of Sept. 11 symbolize our bond with the community. 

Standley Lake Watershed and Water Quality Protection

Westminster residents have long recognized the importance of water quality. Years ago, city staff coordinated efforts with upstream and neighboring entities to incrementally lay the foundation for the water quality programs that exist today. Most recently, the city continued its push for protection for Standley Lake. Decades of work have resulted in protections that will preserve the city’s water supply for future generations and will provide a legacy of high quality drinking water to the residents of Westminster.

Utility Billing Financial Assistance Program

The city occasionally encounters customers who have encountered financial hardship and are unable to pay their bills for water services. Historically, the only resources to assist customers were programs offered by charitable organizations with limited capacity to help out. Staff researched and identified ways to fund the assistance program and created the Utility Billing Financial Assistance Program. This innovative idea, utilizing an untapped funding source is another example of Westminster leading the way now and in to our future. 

Westminster Strategic Plan

A key initiative with City Council has been the development of a strategic plan. Leadership identified the need to develop a long term plan that would establish a set of goals, based on well thought out guiding principles, that would allow the city to be strategic and focused in achieving council’s desired vision for the Westminster community. The city established five key goals that have remained in place for the past nine years, guiding actions and resource allocation by the city. This plan serves as a daily roadmap guiding decisions and is a “living document” that has buy-in from City Council and staff across the organization. It has allowed the city to make great strides in each of the five identified goals over the past nine years. The Westminster Strategic Plan has established a robust legacy for the city that will benefit this community for many generations to come. 

Westminster Website

The City of Westminster website represents an enduring and evolving legacy for the community. In many ways, the website has become the new face of our city government. In response to the shift in how people view their access to government services, every department in the city has worked diligently to transfer services or offer new services via the city website. That continuous, “always open” access is what defines the web and has revolutionized the way people think about, and interact with, their local governments, providing another legacy moment for the city.

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