Eagle to ask voters to approve home rule, officials announce during annual state-of-the town event | VailDaily.com

Eagle to ask voters to approve home rule, officials announce during annual state-of-the town event

EAGLE — In Eagle's annual state-of-the-town gathering, we learned that the state of Eagle is pretty darned good.

Sales taxes are up, and the extra money makes almost everything easier, said Brandy Reitter, town manager.

Eagle, Reitter said, "is doing things right."

Eagle is poised to grow significantly. The town has 2,000 housing units either already approved or in the approval pipeline, Reitter told the audience.

Home rule request

To help the town deal with that growth, Eagle wants to become a home rule city and will ask its voters to green-light the change from a statutory government to home rule, or self-government.

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Reitter said home rule is "modernizing local government" and provides "flexibility."

Right now, the town's government is hindered by the laws and policies of the state government and has been since the town was founded more than a century ago.

State legislators come and go, but their policies remain, which can be problematic for towns, Reitter said.

So, the town will ask Eagle voters two questions:

1. Should the town go to home rule?

2. Who should be on the charter committee?

Of Colorado's 271 municipalities, 101 are home rule. Those 101 home-rule communities are home to more than 90 percent Colorado's town residents, Reitter said.

Among Eagle's accomplishments:

The annual event, Eagle 20/20, sponsored by the town and Eagle's Chamber of Commerce, was an opportunity for the town to present a list of accomplishments from the previous year.

Elevate Eagle: The town is updating its comprehensive plan, land use plan and development code. It is expected to take two years. They're not under a deadline, so if they more time, they'll take it, said Morgan Landers, Eagle's community development director. The process begins with a kickoff event, scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, in Eagle's Brush Creek Pavilion.

Public Works: Eagle is up to its eyebrows in two massive projects, one for fun and profit and one because they need it — the river park and the second water treatment plant.

That second water plant is a "beast, but it's a beast we needed to build," said Brian McGinnis, Eagle's public works director.

"It will serve the community for generations to come," McGinnis said.

The plant allows Eagle to utilize the water rights it owns on Brush Creek and the Eagle River and will also accommodate growth.

The Eagle River Park "connects the heart of Eagle to the soul of Eagle," McGinnis said.

Two of the in-river features have been built, and the other two are under construction. The land-based portion will be built in what is now a parking lot.

Speaking of water, Eagle's water use is down 13 percent from a year ago, said Darren Dirksen, the town's sustainability coordinator.

"The less water that falls on lawns and goes down drains, the more water stays in the Eagle River," Dirksen said.

Special Events: Jeremy Gross, Eagle's marketing and events manager, said the town hosted more than 40 events in 2018. The town kicked in $75,000 in event funding and made that back and more with just one event, Septemberfest, which poured $112,000 into the town's coffers.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.