2022 Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Achievements

Your Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce has been very engaged in local, regional, and statewide issues.  We are proud to represent, not just business owners, but everyone that contributes to our shared prosperity and a healthy, vibrant economy.

Through the course of the year, we continued to see an uneven recovery from the effects of Covid and the public policy responses that have upended virtually every aspect of our business environment.  We are proud of the benefits our collective voice has delivered.

Most notably, there is now a dedicated internal team to compliment the long-standing efforts of the Local Legislative Affairs Committee (LLAC), which tracks and develops official Chamber policy on local and county issues.  The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA), which focuses on state and federal issues, continues to receive outstanding support from Capitol Solutions and a highly engaged board of directors.

To further advance awareness and understanding of issues that impact business, a separate page was created on the Chamber website to provide background on the most important issues, while a monthly Advocacy Newsletter was launched to call attention to and provide analysis of legislation and rulemaking that impacts your business.  We’ve also made it easier for our members to engage directly with elected officials through a tool embedded on the website that is available in both English and Spanish.

Following up the instrumental role the Chamber played in the adoption of the Fort Collins Housing Strategic Plan, the Chamber assembled a working group to inform and evaluate a rewrite of City’s land use code.  That effort resulted in the recently adopted Land Development Code, which allows for greater housing density, more varied product types, and practical incentives for achieving greater housing affordability.  However, streamlining the development process to increase clarity and consistency has not set well with residents opposed to growth, spurring a citizen initiative to repeal the LDC.  Your Chamber will be on the front line, correcting the record and building a deeper understanding of the benefits planning for continued prosperity.

Stopping the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) has been a recurring theme for certain members of Council for several years.  To effectuate that desire, local adoption of 1041 Powers was pursued with great haste and minimal engagement with regional water providers, surrounding communities and key stakeholders.  Through its LLAC and advocacy team, your Chamber became the lone voice calling attention to this lack of important outreach and limits to the scope of work.  Responding to our continued engagement on the issue, Council reinforced intended limitations and postponed adoption of the policies to February 7, 2023.  This additional time allows staff to revise the scope and seek additional feedback from affected parties.  NISP is still in the crosshairs, though it appears other water and transportation projects currently working through the process will be spared from further second-guessing.

Establishing a local minimum wage of $19 per hour was another high priority item for Council.  With a steady stream of pushback from small business owners and your Chamber, Council elected to postpone further consideration of the item until its Work Session on April 11, 2023.  In the meantime, your Chamber will be pushing forward additional data to show how a local minimum wage will severely disrupt employer-employee relations, reduce employment opportunities for unseasoned workers, and threaten the financial wellbeing of employees dependent upon supplemental public assistance.

Through a consistent messaging campaign, attention to detail, and demonstration of our shared commitment to a more diverse, inclusive and equitable community, City staff and leadership have come to view your Chamber as a valuable partner and trusted resource.  Though we hold little expectation that our job will be any easier in 2023, we are confident the business community has secured its place at the table.

Source: Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
January 4, 2023

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