City poses amendment to charter
October 18, 2002
Aspen voters will decide next month whether the actions of their city government will continue to be spelled out in full in the fine print of a local newspaper.
Referendum 2C on the Nov. 5 ballot proposes an amendment to Aspen’s Home Rule Charter regarding the publication of ordinances adopted by the City Council.
One such ordinance is the subject of the referendum. Voters will be asked if an ordinance should be adopted to amend the charter and change its current requirements regarding the publication of ordinances.
Currently, the city publishes an entire ordinance after it is adopted on first reading by the council, along with the date of the second scheduled reading and public hearing on the ordinance. After an ordinance is adopted on second reading, a second, abbreviated notice is published, including the title of the ordinance and notice of its adoption.
If Referendum 2C passes, the city will publish only the ordinance title, and perhaps a sentence or two summarizing it, after first and second reading, said City Clerk Kathryn Koch.
The city could save roughly $10,000 a year by publishing only the shortened notices rather than the full text of each ordinance, she said.
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In addition, the city suspects few individuals go to the trouble of reading the ordinances, which are published in small print in the Public Notice section of the Aspen Times Weekly. For those who are interested in the full ordinance, other easy options now exist to obtain a copy. They can be e-mailed or faxed to a citizen, for example, Koch said.
“The state statute does not require full publication. Our charter requires it,” she said.
Referendum 2C ? Amendment to the City of Aspen Home Rule Charter, Publication of Ordinances ? reads as follows: “Shall Ordinance No. 32, Series of 2002, be adopted? This ordinance proposes to amend the City of Aspen Home Rule Charter by changing the requirement for the full text publication of ordinances and instead allow for proposed and adopted ordinances to be published by title only.”
[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]