`Yes’ on Home Rule for Carbondale
Carbondale’s leaders have laid a path to the future that will give the town board more powers and enable town government to better reflect the personality of the community.
In the Nov. 5 election, Carbondale voters will be asked to form a home rule charter commission and elect nine members.
If approved, the commission will spend the coming nine months researching home rule charters from other communities and crafting a charter that fits Carbondale’s needs. A second election would be held April 8, 2003, to ratify the charter.
Home rule would clearly be a benefit for Carbondale, as it already is for Glenwood Springs, New Castle and Rifle. Home rule allows towns, cities and counties to craft their own rules and regulations rather than being governed by laws created by the state Legislature.
Under home rule, the town could hand more power to voters, allowing them to vote for a wider range of town officials. It would give the town the power to levy a lodging tax, write a customized oath of office, and enact ordinances that protect the town’s quality of life. Home rule also gives town governments the power of condemnation, which must be used rarely and wisely.
All the typical checks and balances remain in place. After all, Glenwood Springs, New Castle and Rifle haven’t run amok with the freedoms home rule affords.
And residents will have plenty of chances to speak up on home rule provisions as the charter is drafted over the coming months.
That brings us to the charter commission race. Ten very able candidates are running for a nine-member commission. This newspaper couldn’t single out any who don’t deserve a vote. In fact, we suggest that the Carbondale Trustees go ahead and appoint the lowest vote-getter to the commission as an alternate. A nine-month process is a long haul, and having a knowledgeable alternate ready to step in would better ensure a full commission right to the finish.
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