Eagle election still set for April 7
Mail-ballot vote poses little risk as community isolates to slow spread of COVID-19
EAGLE — Coronavirus won’t stop democracy in Eagle. It won’t even slow it down.
The Eagle Town Board decided unanimously that the town’s April 7 election would go forward as scheduled.
It’s a mail-in ballot election so there’s not much call for human contact.
It could also be a watershed election. Eagle voters will make three major decisions:
- Changing the town government’s structure to Home Rule.
- Whether to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars of the county’s tobacco tax money in the town, or to let Eagle County keep it.
- Elect a town board. Three of the board’s six seats are open. Scott Turnipseed is running unopposed for mayor.
Keep tobacco tax revenue
Eagle County voters imposed a $4 per pack tax on cigarettes and 40% on all tobacco and nicotine products.
Eagle voters will decide whether to let the county government keep all the money, or whether the tobacco tax revenue generated in Eagle should stay in Eagle.
Eagle’s share of that tax is projected to be around $600,000 the first year. If Eagle voters reject Ballot Issue 2B, that money stays in the county’s coffers, not Eagle’s.
Eagle is one of Colorado’s few remaining statutory towns. That means Eagle is a division of the state government and can only exercise powers that are granted by state law.
A home rule charter is essentially a constitution for the town, outlining the powers and authorities the town’s voters grant to its municipal government. So, instead of asking the state before the town can act, the town can act on its own authority.
Of Colorado’s 271 municipalities, 101 are home rule. Those 101 home rule communities are home to more than 90% of Colorado’s town residents.
Under the home rule charter, the town board would still be non-partisan and seven members — six board members and the mayor.
A home rule charter also cannot authorize any new taxes, and does not fiddle with the state’s TABOR regulations that require voters to approve tax increases.