Eagle County edges toward vote on ‘home rule’ governing | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County edges toward vote on ‘home rule’ governing

Voters will be asked in November to vote on a concept that could result in Basalt and El Jebel getting a guaranteed spot on the board of Eagle County commissioners.Eagle County Commissioners Peter Runyon and Arn Menconi said they will place a question on the ballot that asks voters if they want to pursue a “home rule” style of government.The county government currently operates by rules spelled out by state law. If voters approve a change, the county could make alterations such as expanding its board of commissioners from three to five members.Runyon and Menconi said the expansion will result in greater representation for county residents. The county would be divided into more districts, including one for the Basalt and El Jebel area. Some people in the Roaring Fork Valley sliver of the county feel they are underrepresented. El Jebel is about a one-hour drive from the county seat of Eagle.Runyon championed home rule governing in his campaign for county commissioner last year.”It was one of my campaign issues and there’s no doubt it resonated strongly over here,” Runyon said.There hasn’t been a commissioner from the western edge of Eagle County for decades. Former Basalt Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt ran against Tom Stone in 1998. She lost after she was branded an Aspen no-growther during the campaign.Runyon said the process of converting into a home-rule county isn’t quick or easy. It requires two elections.The first election, in November, will ask voters to decide if they want the county to pursue a home-rule style of governing. Also on that ballot will be candidates for a home-rule charter commission. Three candidates are being sought from the district that includes Basalt and El Jebel.If the voters approve pursuing the concept, the commission has 240 days to draft a proposed charter. Then another election would be held in which voters give a thumbs up or down to that charter.Stone has opposed pursuing home rule because he believes it is unnecessary.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com

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