Hayden trustees to discuss charter

Board to review home rule document at meeting today

If you go

What: Hayden Town Board of Trustees meeting

When: 7:30 p.m. today

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

Call: 276-3741 for more information

— Hayden trustees are slated to decide tonight whether to put a new home rule charter to a public vote.

The town's Home Rule Charter Commission built the document, which has gone through a public hearing and a revision with lawyers. The latest version of the document includes a mayor elected by voters, not a council president. It also includes extended term limits for council members.

The Town Board of Trustees is scheduled to decide at its meeting tonight whether to accept the document and put it to a public vote. If they approve it, the charter could go to Hayden voters as soon as July 21, Town Clerk Susan Irvine said. That would be 30 days after publication in the Sunday Steamboat Pilot & Today.

If voters approve the charter, the town's governing body will be called the Town Council instead of the Town Board of Trustees. Six trustees would be elected to four-year terms, and the mayor would serve a two-year term.

According to the document, "the charter grants the town new powers including the power of eminent domain outside the municipal limits and the power to organize any type of municipal utility. The charter also requires the town to adopt and maintain a master plan for the community and to consider the master plan in the context of all major new development applications."

One of the benefits of home rule, town officials have said, is that it provides more flexibility in taxing. No new tax could go into effect without voter approval, Town Manager Russ Martin has stressed, but a charter would give the town the chance to possibly tax travelers at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

A risk of going to home rule is that the town could impose limits or rules on itself that it later regrets, Martin had said. The town is currently a statutory town, which means it is governed by statewide rules.

The charter begins with a preamble stating the town's mission. It reads:

"We, the citizens of the town of Hayden, Colorado, believing that the government of Hayden exists to serve the people of the town of Hayden; desiring to preserve the heritage of Hayden - its river, wildlife habitat, open spaces and historic small town character; seeking to enable effective citizen participation and to promote involvement in the political process; committing to securing the benefits and advantages of the Constitution of Colorado and to availing ourselves of the rights and privileges of home-rule and self-government in local affairs to the fullest possible extent; do hereby adopt this charter."

Also at tonight's meeting, the Town Board is scheduled to decide whether to approve closing Walnut Street for the Hayden Farmers Market, discuss proposed 2009 budget revisions and decide whether to grant Wolf Mountain Pizza a temporary liquor permit.

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