Eagle County moves forward with home rule
Eagle County voters decided Tuesday to take a closer look at a new style of county government that could give Roaring Fork Valley constituents a greater voice.Voters decided by a tally of 4,075 to 3,850 to explore the home-rule style of government. That’s a margin of 51.5 to 48.5 percent.Currently state statutes dictate the makeup and rules for the county government. Under home rule, Eagle County could tailor parts of its government. For example, it could expand the board of commissioners from three to five members. Pitkin County already has a home-rule style of government.Supporters touted home rule as a way to increase representation in county government for places like Basalt and El Jebel.In related ballot questions, voters also created an 11-member charter commission, which will now have 240 days to draft proposed rules for the home-rule government. That proposed charter will then go back before voters for approval or rejection.Former Basalt Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt and Fryingpan Valley resident Michael Bair were elected to the charter commission from District 3, along with Tom Edwards. Bids by Roaring Fork Valley residents Bob Schultz and Harvey Branscomb failed. Whitsitt gathered 2,490 votes, the most among candidates from the 3rd District.Whitsitt ran unsuccessfully for Eagle County commissioner in 1998 and has indicated she might consider another bid.Others elected to the commission were John Horan-Kates, Colleen McCarthy and Heather Lemon from District 1; Charlie Wick, Kathy Chandler-Henry and Don Cohen from District 2; and Dave Mott and Kara Heide, elected at-large.Eagle County voters also approved a smoking ban in public places in an advisory, nonbinding vote. The measure passed overwhelmingly, with 6,023 votes in support and 2,311 against, a margin of 72 to 28 percent.Commissioner Arn Menconi, who suggested placing the measure on the ballot, previously said he hopes officials from the towns in Eagle County will examine the vote in their precincts and follow the wishes of their constituents.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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