De-Brucing, term limit issues pass easily in Hayden election

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Members of civic boards in west Routt County can breathe a little freer as Referendums 3A, 5A and 5B were all passed in the Nov. 2 election.

Referendums 3A and 5A released the Hayden School District and West Routt Fire Protection District, respectively, from term-limit restrictions. Fifty-seven percent of voters supported ending school board term limits. Fire district board term limits came to an end with 71 percent voter approval.

West Routt Fire was freed from restrictions imposed by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). Referendum 5B passed with 70 perent of the vote.

West Routt Fire Chief Bryan Rickman was pleased with the results and the public support of firefighting efforts.

"I think it's just an example of the faith the electors have in the board to spend their money wisely," Rickman said. "They understand that we need money to train and provide the service and they have spoken."

The institution of term limits has been a bane to west Routt County school and fire district officials say.

"In small rural districts it's really hard to get dedicated people who want to serve," Rickman said.

Hayden Superintendent of Schools Scott Mader shared similar views.

"I think it's just great," he said. "Board members with experience can practice that experience."

The term-limit legislation does not affect any school board members at this time. However, current fire board chairman James Denker would have been unable to run again when his second term is up in May 2002 had the voters rejected Referendum 5A.

Rickman cited former long-time fire board member Jim Funk as an example of a qualified person whose service benefits the public. Funk served on the fire board from 1964 to 1997.

"That background and base of knowledge is unbelievable," Rickman said. "He's been through everything."

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