Our View: Martin was a force in Hayden
July 14, 2010
Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin is moving on with his career, and it's safe to say he's leaving Hayden with forward momentum of its own.
Martin has accepted a town manager job in Camp Verde, Ariz., and his resignation in Hayden is effective Aug. 7. He started in March 2004 in a town that didn't have a police station and was governed by state statute rather than its own home rule charter.
Things have changed in those six-plus years.
Martin helped work out financing and planning for a new police station, which moved the department out of cramped quarters in Town Hall. Although some residents questioned the expense of the 5,500-square-foot, $2.3 million building, police officials pointed out that evidence storage and other issues made a free-standing station necessary.
And when Martin spoke about the expansive station, he spoke of Hayden's future.
"When you look at all the things in there and all the space that's needed for that, it does seem large, but I think that's going to anticipate some growth for the community," Martin said in January 2009.
Martin again focused on the future when he encouraged Hayden to move to home rule. The Hayden Town Board, now the Town Council, put the question to voters. They approved the creation of a commission that wrote a charter, and voters approved that charter July 21, 2009. Martin was integral in that discussion and planning process.
The charter increases Hayden's power to self-govern and to put taxes on the ballot for voters. Martin led the push, coming to commission meetings armed with information and materials from other towns that had moved to home rule, both to explain the benefits and to use their charters as a model.
Hayden became Colorado's 100th home rule city.
That move allowed voters to consider and then approve taxes on car rentals and lodging, which could put more than $100,000 into Hayden's coffers during this recession year. Martin took the long view on that issue, as well, consistently noting that the town has little lodging to tax now but could house hotels or motels in the future.
Also with Martin as town manager, Hayden improved Dry Creek Park, improved the street and sidewalks on Poplar Street and built Hawthorne Street to serve the police station.
He also dealt with a cadre of challenges. Among them, Martin worked with lawyers and developers on the problems at Lake Village subdivision. Although lot owners have separate troubles, he helped reach a deal with contractors to finish infrastructure work so Hayden didn't have to pay. Throughout that process, Martin had vowed that no town money would be spent on infrastructure repairs necessitated by contractors' work.
Although no democratic government is a one-man show, Martin has put as much effort as anyone toward making Hayden a fiscally responsible and forward-looking place to live during the past six years. The course he set puts the town in a position to control its own destiny — and that's invaluable.