Home rule talks roll on | SteamboatToday.com

Home rule talks roll on

Hayden commission to address boards, finances

Blythe Terrell

— Hayden’s Home Rule Charter Commission has set a brisk pace.

The group spent three hours sifting through discussions of town government, referendums, ordinances and more April 13. The commission is scheduled to meet again tonight. It is charged with drafting a town charter so Hayden can switch from statutory to home rule.

The Hayden Town Board of Trustees and Hayden voters would have to approve the charter.

“There were a few things we left and we want to come back to because we’re not quite sure,” commission member James Lewis said. “There was a little disagreement or we wanted to go into some things further, but for the most part, it was very good.”

The nine-member commission won’t meet April 27 but plans to resume at the same time the following two Mondays. The goal, Town Manager Russ Martin has said, is to get the draft charter to the Town Board in June.

Commission Vice Chairman Bill Irvine said none of the panel’s decisions were irreversible.

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“I am not a politician, and it takes a lot for me to absorb this, especially when we move along so fast,” Irvine said. “So that’s why it’s not carved in stone. : I’m on these boards because I live in this town, but I never said I was a genius.”

The commission is learning quickly, he said, and it could be good to aim a fresh eye at the way Hayden does things. Last week, members agreed the town should lengthen term limits and select a board president rather than elect a mayor, for example.

The April 13 meeting lasted three hours, but Irvine said he expected tonight’s to be shorter. The Home Rule Charter Commission is scheduled to spend two hours working.

“We’ll move a little slower, but we’ll be out of there a little sooner because we don’t have as much as we did on the agenda,” Irvine said.

Lewis said his main concern was that residents weren’t participating in the discussions.

“I’m kind of disappointed because nobody’s showing up, and I know later when it comes to a vote, people will be griping, ‘I didn’t know anything about this’ or whatever, and they didn’t come to anything,” Lewis said.

The charter draft will be available for public viewing and comments, possibly in May.

“Maybe when we get the thing complete, drawn up and it’s posted and people have a chance to look at it and read it, they’ll have something to say,” Lewis said.

Last week’s conclusions include, according to the draft minutes:

– A seven-member Board of Trustees with a council-selected president is appropriate. This would be a change from the current setup. The board has six trustees (one is mayor pro-tem), and voters elect a mayor.

– The president would be required to vote.

– Six members would serve four-year terms, and one person would serve a two-year term. Residents would be limited to three terms. After that, the person would be required to sit out a four-year term.

– Public notices should be posted in two places.

– A roll call vote would be required for all votes, and abstentions allowed only for conflicts of interest.

– First and second readings would be required for ordinances.

– Petitions to put initiatives and referendums on the ballot would require 15 percent of registered Hayden voters. Recalls would require 25 percent of voters.

– To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234

or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

If you go

What: Hayden Home Rule Charter Commission meeting

When: 7 to 9 p.m. today

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

Information: 276-3741

Items up for discussion: legal/judiciary issues, boards/commissions, finance, utilities, franchise and permits