As Ouray citizens are well aware, Ouray is a unique community with a high level of commitment to managing our affairs at a local level. Earlier this year, the Community Development Committee (CDC) presented the Ouray 2020 Economic Development Plan, an optimistic vision for our City’s future based on extensive input from our community members and organizations. As we head toward the goals of that plan, we believe that many of the unique challenges we face would be best addressed under the guidance of a charter drafted by our own citizens.
Hence, we support a vote for the formation of a nine-member commission to study the issue of Home Rule and draft a Home Rule Charter. We understand that the Charter would need to be approved in a future election before a Home Rule structure is adopted.
We understand that the process of drafting a charter is not to be undertaken lightly and that the charter document, if approved, would impact how our community operates well into the future. Therefore, we would urge any Home Rule commission to work closely with community members and stakeholders and to clearly communicate what we, as a community, hope to achieve through Home Rule.
Some benefits that CDC believes might accrue were Ouray to become a Home Rule city are:
* Additional authority over qualifications of municipal officers and employees.
* Adjustments to terms and methods of filling vacancies of the city council.
* Expeditious transfer of funds between governmental departments.
* Establishment of special improvement and development districts.
* Increased flexibility to fund affordable housing projects.
* Development of timetables and procedures for sidewalk, street and utility maintenance at a local level.
* Ability to levy and collect certain taxes at a local level, subject to the constraints of the TABOR amendment and voter approval of tax increases.
We caution against viewing Home Rule as primarily a tax-related measure. We are comfortable knowing that tax increases are subject to the constraints of TABOR and that tax increases require voter approval in both Home Rule municipalities and statutory municipalities such as Ouray. The CDC views Home Rule as a measure that can increase our ability to problem-solve at a local level with citizens who understand local concerns best.
– Community Development Committee, Eric Funk, Chair