Is ‘home rule’ cruising toward fall approval?
AVON – Maybe it was the rodeo. Or maybe Eagle County voters are ready to approve a home rule charter – something that hasn’t been done in Colorado since 1978.Whatever, it was a quiet night at Avon Town Hall Thursday when exactly no members of the public showed up at a meeting to discuss a proposed new charter for the county.
The Eagle County Home Rule Charter Commission has been on the road since May to talk about a proposed new charter for the county. The primary element would increase the board of county commissioners from three to five members.
That larger board would include a representative from the Basalt/El Jebel area. The last county commissioner to live in that part of the county left office in 1982.
With County Commissioner Peter Runyon and a reporter the only people at the meeting besides commission members, those volunteers said they’re cautiously confident voters will approve the proposed charter this fall.Sure, it’s still four months until election day, but a couple commission members said if people are interested in an issue they’ll show up at meetings.Commission Member Charlie Wick used to work for the developer of the Adam’s Rib project near Eagle. In the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s that project generated levels of controversy in Eagle that ranged between “intense” and “white-hot.””People will show up if they’re opposed to something,” Wick said. “I don’t see that here.”The opposition to the charter so far has come from the leaders of local political parties, who don’t like the idea of removing party affiliation from the county’s ballots.Other than them, commission members say they’re hearing mostly good things about their work.”I’ve heard from people who have said ‘Why would anyone be against this,'” Commission Member Kathy Chandler Henry said.The main thing commission members say they’re hearing about is representation for Basalt and El Jebel.
“I haven’t heard anybody who’s opposed to improved representation,” Commission Member Dave Mott said. “I had someone say the people in Basalt and El Jebel are represented now,” Commission Member John Horan-Kates said. “They are, technically, but they aren’t really.”While the commission is down to just one more scheduled hearing, Commission Member Kara Heide said the group has agreed to hold another meeting or two as the election nears.And the fall will be when people might start to complain, Mott said.”I haven’t heard much opposition,” Mott said. “Unless they’re hiding in the weeds, waiting for the last two weeks before the election. If there’s noise, that’s when it will happen.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or email@example.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado