Basalt goes with 30-day residency
BASALT ” Basalt officials dealt with a snafu in regulations by deciding it takes 30 days of residency to qualify for an opening on the Town Council, town attorney Tom Smith said after a closed-door meeting Monday night.
Town officials determined in executive session there was no basis for a one-year residency requirement for council members, as was enforced in recent elections. The town’s Home Rule Charter, which was approved in 2002, makes no mention of one year, Smith said.
Colorado state statutes establish the one-year residency requirement for council members. However, home rule municipalities can establish their own residency requirements and supersede state law, Smith said.
“Unfortunately, the charter has ambiguity in it,” he said.
One section indicates a person only has to be a resident of Basalt at the time of election or appointment. Another section indicates a 30-day residency requirement. Smith said the council decided to solicit letters of interest for its council vacancy with the 30-day residency requirement.
The decision paves the way for former Councilman Chris Seldin to apply to fill the vacancy he created. Seldin resigned Friday, May 9, because he moved out of the Eagle County portion of Basalt into Pitkin County. Seldin was one of three finalists for a new judgeship in the 9th Judicial District. He moved to Pitkin County to be eligible for the position, if he was selected. Eagle County isn’t in that judicial district.
In his letter of resignation, Seldin said he would like his seat back if he didn’t get appointed as judge. Colo. Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Gail Nichols to the post Monday.
The council had 60 days from the time of Seldin’s resignation to fill the opening, so he could conceivably move back to Basalt, establish his residency and apply for appointment, should he so desire, before a decision must be made by the council.
Smith said he met with the council Monday to seek a way to address the ambiguity of the charter. Seldin’s situation wasn’t the board’s concern.
“We’re not making this decision to accommodate him,” Smith said.
The council may send a proposed solution to the ambiguity in Basalt’s charter to voters, possibly as early as November, according to Smith.
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