Silt, Parachute to decide on home rule Nov. 7
Voters in the towns of Silt and Parachute will decide in the Nov. 7 general election whether or not they want to become home rule municipalities.In Silt, the idea was first proposed in March 2005, but town trustees at the time didn’t believe the town was ready for it. However, nine months later, in November, they changed their minds and took the first steps toward moving to home rule status.In April 2006, voters approved the formation of a home rule charter commission and agreed to vote on the charter in the November 2006 election.”We’re in favor of home rule because of the autonomy that it affords us and the multiplicity of decisions that we have to make,” Silt Mayor Dave Moore said. “Everything from the police department to regulating taxes to land use.”Becoming a home rule municipality, Moore said, would allow the town more local control and circumvent certain state statutes that it now falls under.”(Home rule) gives us the authority to rule – not totally independent of the state statutes – but allows us to home rule govern,” he said. “By being home rule, we’ll have more latitude.”One of the issues that may be affected by home rule government in Silt is the oil and gas industry. There are currently three oil and gas wells located within the town limits, Moore said. Home rule governing would allow the town to implement ordinances regarding the oil and gas industry that currently aren’t addressed by state statutes.While Silt voters will decide whether or not to approve the new home rule charter, Parachute voters will decide whether to approve a nine-member home rule commission, which will then draw up a charter. The charter will be voted on in 2007, and if approved, the town becomes a home rule municipality.”The issue of home rule has come up several times in the past,” said Parachute Mayor Roy McClung. “But it was revisited most recently after some pit bull issues and looking at Denver and Aurora, who passed their laws because they were home rule.”There are also financial issues which would affect the way the town can spend its money if it is a home rule municipality.Parachute voters will see eight names on the ballot for the home rule commission in the Nov. 7 election. The ninth will be appointed.So far, both towns say their residents seem to be in favor of becoming a home rule government. Currently, Rifle, New Castle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale are all home rule municipalities.Changing from a statutory town to a home rule municipality does not necessarily mean any costs or additional taxes to residents.
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