Election Guide: Oak Creek hopes to reduce ordinance publication costs
October 10, 2011
Shall ordinances adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Town of Oak Creek be permitted to be published by title only rather than by publishing in full, thereby substantially reducing the cost incurred in the publication of ordinances pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute Section 31-16-105, with full copies of all ordinances to be kept as permanent record in the office of the Town Clerk and made available at Town Hall?
Referendum 2F asks Oak Creek residents to decide whether the town can publish adopted ordinances in the Steamboat Pilot & Today by title only, instead of the full text of the ordinance.
The Colorado Revised Statues requires towns to publish ordinances in a local newspaper after they are adopted. The same law states that any municipality can determine by public election whether to allow the town to publish only the title of the ordinance.
Oak Creek Town Clerk Karen Halterman said if the measure passes, full ordinances still would be available for residents at Oak Creek Town Hall. She said the town also plans to have them available online once its new website is completed.
"In these times, we're all trying to save as much money as possible," she said. "It'd really be a benefit to the citizens."
If the ordinance passes, the town still would have to publish its accounts payable and notices of public hearings in the Pilot & Today.
The town spends $1,000 to $2,000 a year to publish its legal announcements in the Pilot & Today. In 2011, the town budgeted $1,800 for legal publications.
Steamboat Pilot & Today General Manager Scott Stanford said it's a good investment for the town. Stanford said government has a responsibility and a duty to make public information as available and as easy to access as possible.
"Newspapers have proven to be the most accessible and best way to provide government information that is of interest to the public," he said. "Seeing an incomplete notice in the paper and then having to physically track down the rest of the information is a wholly inadequate alternative. That shifts the burden back on the public."
Town Board member Bernie Gagne said that in difficult financial times, the relatively small dollar amount doesn't seem like much. Still, every bit helps, he said.
"Public information and transparency is huge," he said. "Being fiscally responsible is also important. But if it's published by title only, should it interest any other parties, they can certainly look it up from there. To me, that should give enough of heads-up to the public."