Hayden Home Rule Charter draft expected soon

Town panel to meet Monday to wrap up 1st set of discussions

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What: Hayden Home Rule Charter Commission meeting

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave.

Agenda includes municipal borrowing/taxation, transition, improvement districts, ethics and an overall charter review. Time is set aside for public comment.

— Hayden could have the base of its town charter inked by early next week.

The Hayden Home Rule Charter Commission meets Monday evening to address the last of the elements of the charter. If the nine-member panel agrees on what the document should contain, the draft could go to a public hearing late this month and to the Town Board of Trustees in June.

On Monday's schedule are municipal borrowing/taxation, transition, improvement districts and ethics. The group also will address topics it set aside for further discussion, Town Manager Russ Martin said.

"It won't take long to go through those couple of sections because they're pretty standard sections," Martin said. "I don't think that will take that long and then they'll try to finalize those decisions : which could be interesting and could be lengthy."

The meeting is open to the public. Commission Secretary James Folley encouraged Hayden residents to attend.

"There seems to be a lot of people in town that have misconceptions as far as home rule and what it's designed for, but they're more than welcome to come to the meetings," Folley said.

Hayden residents elected the Charter Commission in March to pursue a switch to home rule. Hayden is a statutory town, which means it is governed by Colorado statutes. A home-rule town is allowed more taxing flexibility, for example.

Hayden School District Superintendent Greg Rockhold is the chairman, and Bill Irvine is vice chairman. Other members are Gordon Dowling, Trustee Richard "Festus" Hagins, Mayor Lorraine Johnson, James Lewis, Bryan Strickland and Hayden High School Principal Troy Zabel.

Folley said he was pleased with the progress.

"So far, they're going real smooth," he said about the talks. "There're some things we need to discuss and haggle over, but once we go through it, we need to go through it with a fine-tooth comb again."

If the commission comes to a consensus Monday, the draft will go to attorneys for approval and then be made public. Residents could review it and comment at public hearings in late May, Martin said. He expects the charter to be about 30 pages long.

The Charter Commission will have time to make changes based on the public discussion, but public input has been limited.

"I'm hoping people will take an interest when we have a draft to go through," Martin said.

Rockhold said the group would try its best to inform Hayden voters.

"We're endeavoring to put this together for the public before we go to a vote so there's an understanding of what home rule is and how it can benefit Hayden," Rockhold said.

The draft would go to the Town Board and then to Hayden voters for approval. Martin hopes to get the public's OK in July, which would allow the Town Board to put any taxing measures on the ballot in November.

The town has discussed taxing car rentals, for example, to bring in revenue from travelers passing through Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Martin said he was happy with the commission, which has moved at a solid clip through its discussions.

"The people we've got on it are good thinkers, and it's been very good," he said. "We've had good conversations. Nothing has necessarily been easy, and that's good. They've had a lot of questions."

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