Residents voted in favor of home rule status in November, but the new rules won’t be officially adopted until the new charter is approved by residents, said city manager Patrick Rondinelli.
Nine citizens have met weekly since last November’s election to develop the charter, he said, which, among other things, will dissolve city council wards and make all council seats at large.
Adopting home rule will also mean that the city will be governed more by its own set of rules instead of relying solely on state statutes, Rondinelli said, giving citizens more “streamlined and flexible local governance by the citizens…”
Home Rule Charter Commission members are chair Pam Larson, chair pro tem Richard Spaulding, Betty Wolfe, Matt Genuit, Deedra Williams, Joe Kersen, Lora Slawitschka, Mike Fedel, and Gary Hansen.
The final version of the charter, which can be viewed at ci.ouray.co.us, begins with the hopeful words, “As adopted by the citizens of the City of Ouray, Colorado on May 5, 2009.”
After the table of contents, on page 6, the commission gives a synopsis of the new charter, which reads:
“The Home Rule Charter Commission has prepared a Charter with emphasis on simplicity and flexibility that also reflects the integrity and efficiency afforded a home rule municipality. The Commission has taken consideration of the liberties afforded by home rule while maintaining many of the structures present in the current Government. The Charter is intended to provide a form of government that is accessible to the community and encourages citizen participation. The Charter protects the right of the citizens to vote on important City matters, including any tax or tax rate issue.
“The Charter provides for a Council-Administrator form of government. The Council shall consist of five Council members, including the Mayor, all elected by the voters at large. The Administrator shall be accountable to the Council and shall be responsible for the effect and enforcement of any and all regular City business. The Charter provides procedures for Council meetings, the enactment of ordinances, the initiative and referendum process, and recall elections. The Charter also includes key provisions with respect to City administration, elections, municipal court, utilities, finance, municipal borrowing, improvement districts and transition procedures.
“The Commission has prepared this Charter with confidence that it provides the structure for a responsible and effective government for the City of Ouray, now and into the future, and that it will maintain and enhance the quality of life of its citizens, accommodate the growth and progress of the City, and continue to be responsible to the needs and concerns of the community.
“The Commission has prepared this Charter believing that the citizens of Ouray possess the ultimate power and responsibility for the City of Ouray.”