‘Home rule won’t raise your taxes’ Eagle commission says
Eagle home rule charter commission presents initial charter proposal
- Eagle’s home rule charter commission will host two public input meetings: Jan. 15 and Jan. 22, both at 6 p.m. and both in Eagle town hall.
- After those two meetings, the commission will present the finished charter to the town board, which is expected to put it on the ballot for Eagle’s municipal election, when voters will either approve or reject it.
EAGLE — Home rule will not raise your taxes, or allow anyone else to raise your taxes without your permission, says the commission putting together the town’s home rule charter.
Eagle is ready for the town to “take control of its destiny,” Brent McFall, chairman of the home rule charter commission said Tuesday in its initial presentation to the Eagle Town Board.
“It does not create a bureaucracy, it does not create new taxes, it does not raise taxes, it does not eliminate the requirement for citizens to approve a tax increase,” McFall said.
Eagle’s home rule charter commission is hosting two final public meetings — Jan. 15 and Jan. 22, both at 6 p.m. in Town Hall. The commission will collect input and submit the proposed charter to the Town Board by the end of this month.
Eagle voters will give it their thumbs up or down during April’s municipal election.
Most already support it
Most Eagle voters already support the idea. A survey by Magellan Strategies before the home rule charter commission started its work found that 74% of Eagle voters support home rule after learning that federal and state laws still apply, but the town would have the power to create its own laws and policies without state interference.
The same survey found that 71% of Eagle voters support home rule would preserve Eagle’s unique values and culture, and allow residents to control future changes to the town.
The vast majority of Eagle residents say the town is headed in the right direction, ranging from 91% in the 18-34 group to 55% of those 65 and older, according to the Magellan Strategies survey.
What’s home rule?
Home rule basically means the town is writing its own constitution and rules, instead of operating under the state government’s thumb.
Colorado is home to 102 home rule municipalities. McFall said he hopes Eagle becomes No. 103.
“It’s time Eagle joined other cities and towns and takes control of our destiny,” McFall said.
Among the upside is, “not having to ask ‘mother may I’ of the state,” and “not operating under the paternalistic eye of the state government,” McFall said.
Besides Eagle, Red Cliff is Eagle County’s only other statutory town. That means Eagle and Red Cliff are divisions of the state government, and can only exercise powers that are granted by state law. State legislators come and go, but their policies remain.
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.
The basics of the town government would not change, McFall said.
A home rule charter cannot authorize any new taxes and does not fiddle with the state’s TABOR regulations that require voters to approve tax increases.
The Town Board would become a Town Council, but would still be non-partisan — six board members and an independently elected mayor. They set policy and supervise the town manager. The town manager runs the town’s day-to-day operations.
The proposed charter would also adopt a code of conduct and behavior for Town Council members and the mayor.
Wolves were a problem for ranchers when Kip Gates’ great-great-grandfather homesteaded in the area. He doesn’t want the problem to return.