Glenwood council to consider several changes to charter
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Springtime in the Rockies could become election time in Glenwood Springs in one of several municipal charter changes to be considered by City Council Thursday.Council is scheduled to discuss several possible charter changes, including moving city elections from November to April or May.Some other possible changes include revising the city’s legal notice requirements, clarifying the process for citizen election initiatives, changing annual city budgeting deadlines, and removing gender-specific charter language so it no longer assumes that all council members and other city officials are men.Any charter changes would take effect only with voter approval. City manager Jeff Hecksel said council probably will discuss Thursday whether it even wants to make any charter changes, and how soon. It’s possible one or more charter change issues could be placed on this fall’s city election ballot, when four council seats also are up for election.City clerk Robin Unsworth, who oversees the city’s elections, said the Colorado Municipal League has indicated an increasing number of municipalities are switching to spring elections. The move is seen as a way to improve voter turnout and keep city ballot issues from being on the same ballot with federal, state, county and special district questions, which sometimes can result in competing tax measures.”The city would tend to have the ability to have their issues focused on in a more singular way,” Hecksel said.The city also would have two opportunities a year – spring as well as fall – to offer ballot issues covered under the state Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) initiative.”I don’t know if you can consider that a good thing or a bad thing,” Hecksel said.Unsworth said it costs the city less to hold its own elections than to coordinate with the Garfield County Clerk’s Office on fall elections and share in that cost.Another advantage is that new council members would be able to participate in drawing up the new city budget, which is completed in the fall. Now, a newly elected council inherits a budget created by a past council.Hecksel said another charter change would push back the city’s annual budget deadlines a little later into the fall, allowing it to incorporate more timely and accurate information.Yet another change would allow for legal publication related to newly passed ordinances on the city’s Web site, an official notice board and the kiosk outside City Hall, as alternatives to “newspaper of general circulation within the city” – namely, the Post Independent. In addition, it would suffice legally to publish the titles of ordinances rather than the full text, as is now required, as long as the notice indicated the full ordinance is available at City Hall.”I don’t think it’s the notion that the city wants to avoid publication but do we want to publish entire documents in the newspaper? I don’t know how valuable that is,” Hecksel said.He said he doesn’t think it would be wise to altogether eliminate newspaper legal notices related to ordinances.Contact Dennis Webb: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado COCouncil agenda• Glenwood Springs City Council will discuss possible charter changes in an 11:30 a.m. work session Thursday morning. At 5:30 p.m., it will hold another work session to discuss a long-term tourism marketing vision with the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and the city’s tourism marketing board.• Its regular meeting starts at 7 p.m. Council is scheduled to hear a request for more funding for a South Canyon bike and pedestrian trail.• All meetings will be held at 101 W. Eighth St.
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