The city of Monument will ask voters this fall to decide whether the city should move to municipal self-government, in a bid officials support will give residents more say in how local government is run.
Monument’s board of directors voted 6-1 Monday night to put a measure on the November ballot that would create a nine-person charter of autonomy commission if approved. In the same election, voters would also choose the commission members. The commission would have six months to draft a new city charter, which would be presented to voters in a future election, City Attorney Andrew Richey said.
In Colorado, autonomous cities have more power to set regulations and more control over day-to-day operations, Richey said. Without self-governing status, cities like Monument are subject to rules set by the Colorado General Assembly and cannot make ordinances that conflict with state laws, says the 2018 local government manual of the State. Colorado.
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“The quality of the constitutional charter you will get is the quality of the nine people you vote on” at the Home Rule Charter Commission, said administrator Jim Romanello. “I think this will probably be one of the most extremely important things that will ever be voted on here.”
City leaders have been discussing the proposal for several months.
A spring survey of 382 residents revealed that 41% of them approved the creation of a Commission for the Charter of Autonomy. Twenty-three percent said they would reject the question and 36% were undecided.
If voters approved the change, the most significant changes would be in community development and the city’s overall financial well-being, Richey said previously.
Under the internal regime, the city would have more flexibility with its land use standards, zoning and economic incentives for incoming businesses, Mayor Don Wilson said. There are also more revenue opportunities as the city could, with voter approval, pass visitor and tourism taxes, such as the accommodation tax and new user fees.
The council also voted 4-3 Monday to ask voters to increase the local sales tax by half a percent, from 3% to 3.5%, to fund police services.
Monument’s population has grown by 34% over the past decade and calls to police have increased by 53%, staff said in meeting documents. The increase in the local sales tax would create “a dedicated and adequate source of funding to meet growing public safety needs” and align the number of police officers with population growth, the staff said.
Administrator Ron Stephens asked why the question was returning to the ballot after voters last November overturned a similar ballot question, with more than 57% of residents voting against the sales tax increase.
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Monuments Police Chief Sean Hemingway said since November he and other city staff have been doing more community outreach to better educate residents on the issue.
“One thing we heard was that residents weren’t sure if the money would just go to the police department,” Hemingway said. “Another thing we heard was that there was some confusion about the language (of the ballot).”
Another municipal survey in the spring of 563 registered voters found that 60% would support a local sales tax increase supporting police services, with 27% opposed and 13% undecided. Plus, the new voting language is much clearer, Richey said.
The tax increase would generate around $ 1.65 million per year for the police, Richey said.
The ministry plans to use the money to hire eight more officers, repair or replace patrol cars and hire a sexual assault detective. The department said it is also planning a special unit to deal with vehicle burglaries, drugs, residential burglaries and human trafficking, according to meeting documents.
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