Carbondale voters to decide on home rule November 5 |

Carbondale voters to decide on home rule November 5

Lynn Burton

Carbondale voters decide in the Nov. 5 election whether to proceed with the home rule process, a move that could eventually lead to some town staffers being elected rather than hired.The home rule process is threefold, according to Carbondale Recreation Director Jeff Jackel. The Nov. 5 election will ask two questions: whether a home rule charter commission should be formed, and who those commission members should be.A total of 10 home rule charter commission members are vying for nine seats. They are Fred Williams, Ro Mead, Russ Criswell, Leslie J. Lamont, John F. Foulkrod, David Rippe, John Hoffmann, Debbie Quinn, Randy Schutt and Gene Schilling.After the commission drafts a charter, a public hearing is held, then it goes to a vote of the people for final approval or denial. Jackel said if residents vote to form a home rule commission, the following time line will be applied:-Nov. 12 – The Carbondale Board of Trustees sets the date for the first charter commission meeting.-Nov. 18 – The first charter commission meeting is expected to be held. Other meetings will follow.-Feb. 11 – A public hearing on the charter is held.-Feb. 25 – The home rule charter is completed.-March 6 – The town publishes the entire charter as a legal notice in the Valley Journal.-April 8 – The charter election is held to approve or veto it.-April 28 – This is the last day the town has to file the charter with the Colorado Secretary of State.Jackel said the charter itself will state when it goes into effect.Home rule status gives towns a broader range of powers and authority than statutory towns. Last year, an attorney who specializes in home rule charters told the trustees a charter is like a constitution.”It’s a general document to confer broad powers and give guidelines,” David McConaughy told the trustees.McConaughy said that in 1998, New Castle adopted a home rule charter that is 25 pages long, with 14 chapters that address elections, town council procedures, town finances, bonded indebtedness and taxation.The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce has told the trustees that if the town goes home rule, residents could vote on whether to impose an accommodation tax on lodging to promote tourism.A home rule charter would also allow residents to vote for the town’s police chief, the trustees have been told.In drafting a home rule charter, the commission is open to sometimes unexpected discussions. McConaughy said New Castle’s commission spent an entire session debating whether the word “God” should appear in the town council oath of office. Eventually, the charter just said there must be an oath of office.McConaughy pointed to Telluride’s home rule charter as being “way out.” One of its provisions allows some noncitizens who meet residency requirements to vote in municipal elections.

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