Skip to content

Breaking News

BROOMFIELD, CO – JANUARY 14, 2020: The Broomfield city limits signs on the east side of the city.  Broomfield’s recent economic vitality study identified 120th as the city’s most frequented designation for retail and dining. A goal of the economic vitality strategy is to create more jobs for people who live in Broomfield, which will reduce vehicular traffic.
 (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BROOMFIELD, CO – JANUARY 14, 2020: The Broomfield city limits signs on the east side of the city. Broomfield’s recent economic vitality study identified 120th as the city’s most frequented designation for retail and dining. A goal of the economic vitality strategy is to create more jobs for people who live in Broomfield, which will reduce vehicular traffic. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Four residents have formed Broomfield Taxpayer Matters, a group aimed at examining expenditures and policy decisions made by Broomfield and City Council.

The group states it wants to “lend a voice” to the taxpaying residents of Broomfield and shed light on Broomfield and Broomfield City Council’s actions and decisions as they pertain to managing taxpayer money, and “support, moderate, challenge, educate and engage” residents on those matters.

Rick Fernandez said the group was formed about a month and a half ago. It was founded by himself, former Ward 5 City Councilman David Beacom, Francesca Subramanian and Tim Ziegler, who died April 14. A tribute to Zieger, who was a vice chair for the Broomfield County Republicans for years, is on the group’s website.

Broomfield Taxpayer Matters exists to provide an avenue for Broomfield taxpayers seeking support in getting their voices heard and in having their values and priorities reflected in the ordinances, mandates and expenditures imposed on them, the group stated in a news release.

“Most taxpayers are focused on providing for their families and living their lives,” the release stated. “It is often difficult to sit through a five-hour City Council meeting, stay informed on decisions and declarations by the Broomfield city manager(s), try to make sense of what was discussed and what it means personally to each taxpayer let alone follow up with taking action.”

The group is registered as a 501(c)(4), which means it is not for profit and must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare, and was formed March 20.

The group is not party-affiliated, Fernandez said, and cannot advocate for or against candidates on the local, state or national level. It can put out questionnaires for candidates to respond, but cannot campaign.

Beacom is secretary of the Broomfield GOP, and Fernandez, who ran for City Council in 2017, is a past chair of the local Republican Party. Subramanian co-founded and was vice president of Broomfield 912, a grassroots group that works to promote local, state and national conservative political issues, according to Subramanian’s Linkedin page.

Members of the group will attend Council meetings, monitor various boards and review the city’s communications, websites, announcements and news articles and share information, according to the news release. They also will share perspectives with residents through social media.

They also are asking the community to take action when group members “identify injustice.”

Decisions made by the city or Council impact all residents, Fernandez said, because they pay property, sales and, for businesses, payroll taxes.

Members are paying attention to decisions being brought to Council, such as capital projects and COVID-19 related expenditures, including adding additional revenue to the Bridge the Gap and Enhance Broomfield programs that help families with rent/mortgage assistance and small businesses with grants.

They also will look at council’s continued discussion on altering the way the governing body operators, including possibly moving to a county commission, or changing the way Council is compensated.

“I hear that that Council is potentially looking at providing a salary plus benefits plus pension,” Fernandez said. “We’re going to call a big question on that. Quite honestly being a City Council member is the ultimate form of public service.”

Mayor Pro Tem Guyleen Castriotta in an email said she wanted to assure the public that all conversations regarding Council salary were held “collaboratively in an open session using data collected from over 10 surrounding communities.” She added members recognized any decision would not take effect until after the next election and wouldn’t benefit them in their current terms. “At no point did we discuss pensions for councilmembers,” she said.

“I mentioned pensions in a long list of things that Councilmembers don’t receive along with medical benefits. Pensions or retirement were never on the table because that is absurd for a temporary job.”

Another issue Taxpayer Matters founders questioned, which came up before the COVID-19 crisis, is direction on affordable housing and the passing of an ordinance that required developers to take affordable/attainable housing into consideration when building units by making a cash in-lieu payment, a land-in-lieu contribution or including affordable units in their projects.

Fernandez said he questions if it wouldn’t be better for the city to lower the cost to build in Broomfield as opposed to using the city to subsidize those things. He wondered if it wasn’t better to leave it to developers to make those decisions instead of mandating those costs be covered because “ultimately those costs go somewhere,” including the developer who could then pass it on to tenants.

Castriotta said the affordable housing ordinance was brought to Council by the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force, which studied the issue for a year prior to proposing the measure.

Taxpayer Matters can be found online at broomfieldtaxpayermatters.com as well on the group’s Facebook page and, soon, Twitter. The group also puts out a newsletter it hopes to send weekly with articles and other information.

“We’re all for active citizenship in the city,” Fernandez said. “I think it’s important for everyone to be engaged in these decisions. We’re encouraging that.”

The group intends to look at the city’s budgets and key in on expenses such as playground equipment for the renovated Broomfield Community Center while furloughing employees.

Ultimately founders want people speaking out and engaging with the budget process, Fernandez said.

“There may be issues that resonate with one person, another issues resonates with another person at a different time,” he said. “We want people to feel they can reach out, email City Council or show up for a City Council meeting and make a comment.”

Castriotta encouraged the same, and said residents can always access the budget at Broomfield.org or tune in to the weekly electronic Council meetings, at which the city’s director of finance is providing updates. Meetings can be viewed on Comcast channel 8 and at broomfield .org/128/City-Council. Residents can participate by calling 855-695-3744.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.