THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS WILL HOST A HOME RULE CHARTER COMMISSION CANDIDATE FORUM AND DISCUSSION WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012 FROM 7 P.M. TO 9 P.M. IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS.
After years of hearing citizens and previous city councils inquire about home rule, the current Salida City Council made it a priority to explore the possibility of Salida becoming a Home Rule community. On September 18, 2012, City Council passed on second reading Ordinance 2012-12, initiating the adoption of a home rule charter for the City of Salida and providing for the election of Charter Commission Members. In the ordinance, council called for a special election to be held January 15, 2013. The voters shall cast ballots for or against forming the charter commission and electing charter commission members.
Salida is a statutory municipality. As such, it may exercise only those powers granted to it by the State of Colorado. In contrast, municipal home rule is government that provides flexibility in the exercise of its power. It is based on the conviction that the citizens of a municipality should decide how their local government is to be organized and how their local problems should be solved.
Who determines Salida’s future? You – the citizens of Salida! The City Council and staff have a very limited role in the home rule process. Council calls for the home rule charter commission and home rule charter election.
Key Facts About Home Rule
Based in part on information provided by the Colorado Municipal League. Read the Colorado Revised Statute pertaining to Home Rule. C.R.S. 31-2-201 through 31-2-225
Salida is a “statutory” city, which means its authority to act comes from statewide statutes written by Colorado legislators. Therefore, Salida must look to statewide statutes in dealing with local matters. If no statute exists regarding a certain problem or issue, the City’s hands are tied. As Salida grows, trying to find statutes that cover every unique local situation becomes more difficult.
Home rule municipalities operate under a charter written by local citizens elected to a charter commission.
- The charter must be approved by registered voters.
- The charter may be amended by voters at a later date, although this rarely happens within Colorado home rule cities/towns.
- Home rule charters refer only to local matters. Cities with home rule must still abide by federal laws and to state laws that apply to statewide matters.
Local voters may be asked to consider changing from a statutory to a home rule city. In that event . . .
- On January 15, 2013, registered voters will decide for or against forming a charter commission and authorizing the Home Rule process. A vote against a charter commission means Salida will remain a statutory city.
- On that same day, voters will elect a charter commission that will serve only if those same voters decide to pursue a home rule charter. There will be two questions on the Jan. 15th ballot: 1) pursue home rule (yes or no) and 2) electing charter commission members.
- If voters choose to form a charter commission, the elected group will submit a proposed charter to town board within 120 days of the January 2013 election.
- After the proposed charter is submitted, registered voters will then be asked to vote to decide whether or not to adopt the charter.
- Adopting home rule would not require a change in Salida’s form of government.
- The city will pay the costs related to a home rule election, which, at this time, is estimated to be about $14,000 to $20,000.
Salida is currently a statutory city.
- Colorado has 100 home rule cities/towns.
- No home rule city or town in Colorado has decided to revert back to being a statutory city/town.
A vote for home rule is NOT a vote for higher taxes.
- Home rule in no way overrides the provisions of Amendment 1(TABOR), which requires that new taxes, as well as taxes resulting in an increase in revenue above defined limits, are subject to a vote of the people.
- Home rule cities have reported savings in legal expense because time consuming research of state statutes is less frequent.
- Home rule cities can also save significant dollars by handling city sales tax collection themselves, an option not available to statutory cities.
Home rule allows for greater local control.
- On matters of local concern, the city does not have to rely on what state statutes/legislation mandate.
- Local citizens create and approve their own charter.
- Home rule cities have broad authority to regulate the powers, duties and terms of municipal officers, agents and employees.
Based in part on information provided by the Colorado Municipal League.
Why is Salida considering home rule now?
- One of the visions of the city council was to explore the possibility of Salida becoming a home rule community.
What is the City Council’s role?
- The charter proposed by the charter commission will be approved or disapproved by citizens at the time of election, not by the city council.
- The City Council has a very limited role in the home rule process. Council calls for the Home Rule charter commission election and the home rule charter election.
- If a home rule charter is approved, it will serve as the city council’s governing document.
What about the charter commission?
- Based on Salida’s population, the charter commission will have 11 members.
- Candidates must be a registered voter, resident of Salida and nominated by a petition signed by at least 25 registered electors.
- The commission’s task will be to write a proposed city charter that will be approved or disapproved by local voters.
What is the home rule timeline?
- October 23, 2012—Deadline for charter commission candidates to file completed petitions.
- January 15, 2013—Special, Mail Ballot Election as to whether to form a charter commission and elect 11 commission members.
- May 7, 2013—Last date for submission of the proposed charter from the charter commission to the city council.
- July 9, 2013—Election to vote on whether or not to approve proposed Home Rule charter.
(Note: these dates are subject to change)
What are some arguments against home rule?
- Salida has functioned well as a statutory city. If it is not broken, don’t fix it.
- There is some cost associated with adopting a home rule charter.
- If the adopted charter is not done broadly or reflects narrow self interest, it could be even more restrictive than state statutes. This would defeat the advantages of a home rule charter.
- Home rule charters can only be amended by election and approval of the majority of the electorate.
How do I find out more about Salida’s home rule?
- Home rule will be a major topic discussed at City Council meetings.
- Other public meetings will be held in coming months. The League of Women Voters will host a home rule charter commission candidate forum and discussion Wednesday, December 12, 2012 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Council Chambers. Check the City of Salida website, www.cityofsalida.com, and Facebook page for updates.
- The Salida Mountain Mail, Salida Citizen and other media outlets will periodically cover Salida’s home rule story.
- Call 719-530-2630 or your councilman for more info.
- Examples of Charter Content Additions
- History of Home Rule
- Home Rule Advantage – Materials from Previous Home Rule Task Force
- Home Rule Charter_Cedaredge
- Home Rule Charter_Centennial
- Home Rule Charter_Silt
- Home Rule Charter_Town of Hayden
- Home Rule Compare and Contrast – Material Prepared by Previous Home Rule Task Force
- List of Home Rule Municipalities
- Mail Ballot Plan and Timeline
- Ordinance 2012-12 Home Rule
- Overview of Home Rule_Sam Mamet PowerPoint
- What is Home Rule?