Oak Creek votes to change ordinance publication policy
November 1, 2011
Steamboat Springs — The town of Oak Creek no longer will have to publish the full text of new town ordinances in the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Instead, the town will pay to publish only the titles of such ordinances.
Oak Creek Referendum 2F was supported by 72 percent of the town's voters, according to election results released by the Routt County Clerk and Recorder's Office late Tuesday.
Oak Creek Mayor Nikki Knoebel said the board's goal was to save the town money by asking voters to pass the referendum.
"That was all we were looking for," Knoebel said, "was saving money, the time and the effort."
Colorado law requires municipalities 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.
The Oak Creek Town Board decided this summer to put the matter to the voters in an effort to save money.
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The town spends $1,000 to $2,000 per year to publish its legal announcements in the Pilot & Today. In 2011, the town budgeted $1,800 for legal publications.
The town still will have to publish its accounts payable and notices of public hearings in the Pilot & Today. Oak Creek Town Clerk Karen Halterman previously has said that full ordinances are available at Town Hall and one day would be available on the town's new website.
Pilot & Today General Manager Scott Stanford said Oak Creek residents voted against government transparency.
"It's unfortunate that Oak Creek residents chose this path. They just made access to Oak Creek government a little bit harder," Stanford said. "People see it as a cost to government rather than an efficient service that government provides to make it easier to see what they are doing."
Knoebel said the town will make every effort to make the full ordinances available online and at Town Hall.
"We'll make sure it's online; we'll make sure that if anybody calls and wants it, we'll make that available to anybody," she said. "We're really just trying to save money and time."
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com