Letter: Where are the details?
The adoption of home rule is often a positive step for municipal and county governments. However, it is essential that voters know the details of the proposed charter before casting their votes. The provisions of the charter dictate whether home rule is actually a positive or a negative political format for future governance of the town. In order to cast an informed vote, citizens need to know the nuts and bolts of the proposed charter. Saying the charter will enable to town to “take control of its destiny” doesn’t really tell us much.
The draft charter is at least a 30-page document. A bulleted summary detailing how the new charter differs from the current statutory form of government would be helpful. Transparency, honesty and openness help inform the voters.
In the Vail Daily article of Jan. 16, a charter commission spokesman reports that home rule will not create a bureaucracy or new taxes; nor will it raise existing taxes, eliminate requirements for citizens to approve tax increases. OK. So exactly what does the charter do? The citizens need to know the specific details.
Some of the details that I would like to see addressed include: Will it become more difficult for citizens to seek a referendum or a public vote on Town Council decisions? What about the initiative process? What procedures will development proposals or zone changes be required to go through? Does it eliminate any public meetings or transfer decisions to commissions or groups not elected by the popular vote of the residents? What are the economic impacts (such as payment for Town Council or Planning Commission members)?
How about some comments from other local home rule towns about how that concept is working for them? The time is right for the charter commission and the newspaper to drop the generalities and offer some details.