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The Aurora City Council is considering the creation of a new commission for innovation and technology advances at the city.
The Innovation and Technology Advisory Board would function similarly to how the Planning and Zoning Commission functions on planning and development issues “in terms of their advisory capacity,” according to Alex Voigt, deputy chief of staff in the mayor’s office.
“(It) would be created to shepherd and advise on any new innovation and technology initiations the city would take on,” Voigt said.
The council’s Rules, Administration and Procedures Committee recently recommended creation of the board 5-0, and the full council will discuss it at the Committee of the Whole meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers, City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place.
Betty Hart, the city’s Innovation chief officer, said not only would the commission look at proposals before the city, but would “help us research and gather information related to emerging technologies that benefit or would have an impact on the city.”
That technology could have an impact on all areas of life, including health care, education, quality of life, climate, safety and economic development, as well as other factors that are important to city operations and planning, said city officials.
The committee would have nine voting members, and up to five other ex-officio members that would take part in discussions, but not vote, Hart said.
None of the members can be associated with any entity seeking to do business with the city, she added.
According to the ordinance, the members could include people with expertise in different specialities, including: innovation and technology; advanced manufacturing; bioscience and health care; advanced business services; aerospace and defense; film and digital media; energy and clean tech; agribusiness and food processing; transportation and logistics; wholesale and retail; finance and insurance; legal; government; and other services.
Two of the nine voting members would be city employees from innovation and technology areas, but the limit of voting city employees would be two, Voigt said.
The five ex-officio members could be city employees from any area, she added.
She said the city looked at what other municipalities do, and found very few similar commissions. But in places where they were, city staff often held board positions, even leadership spots.
“But we felt more comfortable limiting it to two departments that would be heading it up,” Voigt said. “It’s a different model for us.”