Yes on 2A and 2B | AspenTimes.com

Yes on 2A and 2B

I urge Basalt voters to vote yes on 2A to approve the home rule charter which was written by the nine citizens they elected in the spring. By adopting the charter you can insure that the people of Basalt, rather than the state legislature, will control the future of your town.

Currently, Basalt is a “statutory” town, which means that its authority to act comes only from laws written in Denver. In contrast, home rule municipalities have the ability to write their own rules to better fit local conditions. By voting for home rule you will be putting control in the hands of local voters.

Under the charter Basalt will have powers denied to it as a statutory town. For example, Basalt could create its own telecommunications utility to serve its citizens better and more cheaply than private companies. Basalt will also have the option of creating a lodging tax similar to Glenwood’s to raise funds for economic development.

However, the Town Council will not be able to enact any new taxes on its own. The Colorado constitution requires that all new taxes must be approved by a vote of the people. Home rule is definitely NOT a vote for higher taxes.

Under the new charter, there will be only minor changes in the operation of Basalt’s government. All current council members and the mayor will serve out their terms and existing ordinances will stay in effect, except for those few cases where the charter makes procedural changes.

The mayor will still be elected separately, but when there are more than two candidates, instant runoff voting will be used to avoid a second election. Under this procedure the mayor will always be the person whom the majority of all voters prefer.

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In addition to voting to approve the charter, I urge you to also vote yes on 2B to eliminate term limits for the mayor and the council.

According to the Colorado Municipal League, “The political dynamics that may justify term limits at other levels of government do not exist at the municipal level. As applied to local governments, term limits are a classic example of a solution in search of a problem. Ironically, the more pervasive problem at the local level is finding enough qualified people willing to serve and keeping good people in office, not trying to unseat incumbents.”

Indeed, Basalt had to cancel the last election because of a lack of candidates.

You can read the charter at Town Hall, the library or on http://www.basalt.net.

Anne Freedman

Basalt

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