Hayden Town Board to consider home-rule charter

If you go

What: Hayden Town Board meeting

When: Today; 7 p.m. work session, 7:30 p.m. meeting

Where: Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave.

Key issues: Hawthorne Street/Crandall Avenue speed limit ordinance; home-rule charter initiation ordinance

— The Town Board of Trustees will tackle a fairly busy agenda at its first meeting of the year. Trustees are scheduled to consider a home rule initiation ordinance, changes to speed limits in the eastern part of town and several appointments.

Town Manager Russ Martin has his eye on a home rule charter. Hayden is a statutory town, which means it is governed by state statutes. Becoming a home rule municipality would allow Hayden more flexibility in taxing and holding elections, for example, he said. Approval of the ordinance tonight would move the town toward a vote on the question.

Switching to home rule would allow the town to consider revenue options such as car-rental taxes and lodging taxes, Martin said.

"It'll allow us to do several things, potentially to save money on special elections," he said. "We'd be allowed to have elections in November instead of April. There's a lot of different choices."

Steamboat Springs and Craig are home-rule cities. Oak Creek and Yampa are statutory towns, according to the state Department of Local Affairs Web site.

If Hayden town trustees vote to move toward home rule, petitions would be the next step. An election would follow, possibly in March, on whether to form a charter commission. The decision could be finalized in summer, according to a draft of a proposed calendar. The change can appear complicated, Martin said. He plans to schedule a work session with the Town Board if trustees vote to go forward.

"It's kind of an interesting process," he said.

Also at tonight's meeting, trustees are scheduled to discuss speed limit changes on Crandall Avenue and the new Hawthorne Street in eastern Hayden. Hayden police Sgt. Gordon Booco has said he is concerned about the numerous speed limits in that area.

If the board approves the ordinance, Hawthorne's speed limit will be 35 mph. Crandall's limit would be 25 mph between Hawthorne and the easternmost entrance to Vista Verde Drive. The ordinance would go into effect 30 days after being published.

The trustees plan to run through a gamut of board and commission reappointments tonight. The town plans to replace former Trustee Trace Musgrave on the Yampa Valley Airport Commission and is scheduled to replace Tom Allen on the Hayden Economic Development Commission.

Hayden schools Superintendent Greg Rockhold, named last month as an alternate to the Development Commission, is interested in becoming a full member. His term would expire Jan. 31, 2012. Hayden staff members have recommended the approval of that appointment.

"I believe as the superintendent, it's my responsibility to help market Hayden to folks interested in moving here, businesses, etc.," Rockhold said. "They need to know that we have a very high-performing school district and that we'll take care of their kids very well."

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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