Another shot at Eagle Co. home rule? | AspenTimes.com

Another shot at Eagle Co. home rule?

Scott N. Miller
Vail correspondent

EAGLE COUNTY – The November election is less than three weeks past, but local voters may have a special election early in 2007.

The Eagle County Home Rule Charter Commission will meet Monday to discuss whether or not to take ask voters again about a government reform called “home rule.”

Voters in 2005 elected an 11-member commission to create a new charter for the county. The group created that charter, the highlights of which were adding two new county commissioners and eliminating partisan county elections.

Backers said the new charter would guarantee a representative for the Basalt/El Jebel area, and that eliminating partisan elections would cut down on party-driven disputes among commissioners.

Some opponents said the current system works well, and the changes proposed would be too expensive.

Voters rejected the charter by roughly 800 votes. But the commission’s work isn’t quite done yet.

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Colorado law gives charter commissions the ability to re-convene, revise proposed charters and re-submit the plans to voters. There’s a fairly narrow window to do that, but commission members believe they need to at least discuss the possibility of asking again.

“The commission needs to make the decision to move forward or not,” commission member Kara Heide said. “I’m not sure what we’ll do.”

That’s why the group is meeting at the Singletree Pavilion at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 27.

The group won’t decide whether or not to ask for a special election Monday, commission chairman Don Cohen said.

“There needs to be a thoughtful discussion,” Cohen said. “Is there passion to continue?”

If the commission does decide to ask voters again, Cohen said a new charter proposal could be somewhat different than the last one.

Commission members would also have to decide a couple of questions based on image and public perception.

“Do we look like sore losers if we go ahead?” Cohen said.

There’s also the matter of cost. A special mail election would cost about $50,000.

If the commission does decide to ask voters about a revised new charter, that decision won’t be made at least until December. But the clock is ticking.