Rifle does away with term limits, OKs retention of excess parks tax | PostIndependent.com

Rifle does away with term limits, OKs retention of excess parks tax

RIFLE Rifle voters approved two out of three ballot questions put before them at Tuesday’s general election, according to unofficial final results reported by the Garfield County Clerk.The votes were 985 to 776 to do away with term limits for City Council members and 1,551 to 354 in favor of keeping excess tax revenues for parks and recreation. However, a 0.2 percent tax increase to form a transportation district and help fund the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus service was turned down 1,061 to 802.Mayor Keith Lambert said he was happy with the ballot issues that passed.”I’m pleased that the voters have seen the benefits derived in parks and recreation by supporting this retainage of the unanticipated revenue,” he said about allowing the city to keep the excess revenue.In eliminating term limits, he was glad that council members who were willing, would be allowed to serve past the designated term limits. “The voters have recognized the value of experience, institutional memory and educating themselves as to the candidate’s positions,” Lambert said.As far as the failure of a 0.2 percent sales tax increase to form a transportation district and help pay for public bus service, Lambert had little to say. “The voters have spoken,” was his only comment.

A proposed home rule charter was approved by voters 344 to 236.In April 2006, voters approved the formation of a home rule commission, which consisted of a nine-member board. Tuesday night’s vote approved the home rule charter drafted by the commission.”I thought it was going to pass all along,” said Mayor Dave Moore. “We voted to put (the home rule commission) on the ballot and it passed and this is just another progressive step. Home rule will give us more of an independence on what’s going on in this part of the county.”By becoming a home rule municipality, Moore said that it will now allow the town more local control and circumvent certain state rules that it currently operates under as a statutory town.

In a race that turned toward the end, voters approved the formation of a home rule commission with nine board members eight elected on the ballot and one to be appointed.In a vote of 93 to 50, the home rule commission was approved, which is the first step in the town becoming a home rule municipality, a position that will give it more local control from statutory laws.”It’s a good thing, because it means we get the charter commission seated,” said Mayor Roy McClung. “We’re excited because this will allow us to (eventually) become home rule.”The nine-member commission will begin meeting before the end of the year, McClung said.

Although there were no town issues on the ballot for New Castle, a special election to fill a seat on the New Castle Town Council was removed prior to the general election as there was only one applicant for the open seat.The vacancy occurred when town councilor Dave Schroeder stepped down from the position for personal reasons. The sole applicant was Bob Gordon, a former Town Council member.Gordon was appointed on Oct. 20, and will fill the position until April 2008.

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