The topic of Home Rule did not suddenly appear. Since my arrival in Salida in 2001, I have heard frequent discussions concerning the pros and cons of Home Rule. Being the talk of the town for years, last August your Council members decided to allow all of Salida’s citizens to participate in the discussion. That’s the job of our Council members, to bring to Council meetings what they have heard on Salida’s streets and in the coffee shops.
Following Colorado state statutes, Council members voted to begin the process that allows voters to choose whether or not they wanted to create a Home Rule Charter. [Notice that this step DOES NOT ask whether or not a person wants Home Rule.] In the January 15, 2013, election, voters will be asked to (1) vote for or against creation of the Home Rule Commission and (2) select up to 11 potential commission members. If the creation of the commission is approved, the elected 11 members will get to work.
The Home Rule Charter Commission would then spend the next 180 days creating a document specifically for Salida. According to the CML Municipal Home Rule handbook, Salida citizens would be constructing their own “self-government.” Once completed, this Home Rule Charter/document will establish the rules and procedures by which our City Council will be governed and operated with regard to issues of local control.
All Salida citizens will have sufficient time this spring and early summer to carefully analyze and evaluate the proposed Home Rule Charter. An election will be scheduled in late summer, and Salida voters will indicate whether or not they want THAT Home Rule Charter. Then and only then will Salida’s citizens vote, in an up-down format, on Home Rule for Salida.
The January 15th vote is ONLY to decide whether or not we should elect a committee to create a Home Rule Charter. Many, many Salida citizens are confused about the process required by Colorado state statutes. Hopefully, this explanation is helpful.
As a statutory city, Salida currently is obligated to follow Colorado state statutes for all proceedings. A locally created Home Rule Charter would allow Salida citizens to create their own statutes/rules for all City Council proceedings, sunshine laws would still apply, and voters must continue to approve any new taxes.
Finally, I want to encourage Salida’s citizens to remember to be civil when disagreeing. To those who make inflammatory comments and attempt to create fear in our friends and neighbors, please stop. Give every citizen accurate, unbiased information and then let each voter decide what is best for Salida.
Salida City Treasurer