Deciding whether to create a municipal energy utility, developing a master plan for Boulder's civic center and creating a housing policy that promotes more affordability and sustainability are some of the city's top priorities in 2013, officials said Tuesday at the State of the City presentation.

City Manager Jane Brautigam and Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum said the city is in a stable financial position due to conservative and careful planning, despite the slow recovery nationally and locally.

They pre-recorded their remarks, along with those from other council members, and the video was shown before the City Council study session.

They highlighted significant events from last year, including the Boulder stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the Flagstaff Fire, the $5.16 million renovation of the hydroelectric plant in Boulder Canyon with the help of a $1.8 million federal grant, the passage of a disposable bag fee at grocery stores, the 30th anniversary of the Pearl Street Mall and the 50th anniversary of University of Colorado alumnus Scott Carpenter's trip into space aboard the Aurora 7.

They noted that the city increased its general fund reserve for emergencies from 10 percent to 15 percent and maintained the city's triple-A bond rating, which will keep interest rates low.


In 2013, the city will try to find funding to ensure that dedicated bus lanes and bikeways along U.S. 36 come all the way to Boulder from Broomfield, and the open space staff will keep working to improve trail connectivity, officials said.

The transportation and parks departments are working on master plans that will guide future projects.

A number of projects are under way on University Hill to try to revitalize the business district and reassess rules around alcohol. The neighborhood may try again to create a service district to improve upkeep and maintenance, officials said.

The two biggest projects, though, will be the city's "energy future" -- assessing the feasibility of creating a municipal energy utility and various alternatives -- and the development of a Civic Area Master Plan to guide future development along Boulder Creek between Ninth and 17th streets.