The Roadmap to Home Rule

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What do you know about Home Rule? This year, the Town of Erie wants to explore whether it should remain a statutory town or implement Home Rule. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing information about what Home Rule is, how it could impact you, and ask you to be involved in this process.

So what is Home Rule? Home Rule is a form of government based on a charter written by residents rather than following state statute. It is based upon the theory that the residents in the community know best how to solve local issues. A Home Rule Charter could give you the chance to determine if Erie should become a city or stay a town, whether the Board of Trustees should become a council, what the term limits are for elected officials, and so much more. Going Home Rule could affect finance, taxation, land use, elections, and administration in Erie.

If the community votes to “go Home Rule” in November, the Charter the Town uses to govern the community will be created by residents and you get to participate in the whole process.


What do you know about Home Rule? This year, the Town of Erie wants to explore whether it should remain a statutory town or implement Home Rule. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing information about what Home Rule is, how it could impact you, and ask you to be involved in this process.

So what is Home Rule? Home Rule is a form of government based on a charter written by residents rather than following state statute. It is based upon the theory that the residents in the community know best how to solve local issues. A Home Rule Charter could give you the chance to determine if Erie should become a city or stay a town, whether the Board of Trustees should become a council, what the term limits are for elected officials, and so much more. Going Home Rule could affect finance, taxation, land use, elections, and administration in Erie.

If the community votes to “go Home Rule” in November, the Charter the Town uses to govern the community will be created by residents and you get to participate in the whole process.


Home Rule Charter

Curious about how Home Rule might impact you as a resident? Ask here! We will share answers and create a place to keep all information transparent for everyone.

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    I live in Unincorporated El Paso County. Can citizens in an area of un-incorporation adopt a Home-Rule Charter if the area is not an "incorporated" city or town?

    RegularJoe asked about 1 month ago

    Thanks for the question! As far as we are aware, becoming Home Rule can only happen at the municipality or county level (Weld County is a Home Rule county for example). So we assume El Paso would have to go to the ballot to ask residents to approve a measure to create a Home Rule Charter in order for unincorporated residents there to have that sort of governance. 

    But you may want to reach out to someone at the Colorado Municipal League who may know the intricacies of the law surrounding Home Rule a bit better.

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    will a home rule charter enable the town of erie to restrict voting in a manner that changes how we submit our votes. will a home rule charter enable the town of erie to control what is taught in the public schools of erie? specifically will it enable erie to restrict or limit the teaching of "critical race theory" to the students, meaning there are matters that the teachers will not be allowed to teach (racial discrimination, treatment of homosexuals, etc)

    la mano asked 3 months ago

    What ends up in a draft Charter is completely up to the elected Charter Commission (so long as what is drafted is not in conflict with any state or federal laws). That group of residents will discuss what they want to be included in the Charter and will then draft it and put it out for a vote by the entire community. It could indeed give direction for how elections are handled in the Town - including when they are held (stick in April or move to November), or how long term limits are for elected officials, etc. 

    The Charter CANNOT influence what is taught in public schools. The Town does not have jurisdiction over school districts or curriculum - whether or not the Town is under a Home Rule Charter or remains Statutory. Matters relating to public schools are managed within school boards and at the state or federal level - not within local governments. 

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    What are the very honest disadvantages to Home Rule when it comes to taxes and land use (thinking drilling here)?

    Amodio Family asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for the question! The answer, unfortunately, isn't a straightforward answer. Any advantages or disadvantages are fully dependent on how a Charter is drafted and approved. The resident-led Charter Commission would draft the Charter how they want to address things like taxes or land use (or any number of other things) in the Town. We won't know the impact of their draft Charter until they are able to draft it (assuming the voters approve forming a Charter Commission on Nov. 8, 2022).

    If the Charter Commission is created and they draft a Charter - that draft will also be put to the voters to either approve or deny. At that point, we would be better able to share the affects of proposed Charter items.

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    The last stage, before voting on the final charter, is community engagement. Will that round of community feedback on the draft charter be used to inform any revisions before the draft is sent to the voters? Why is that commission revision stage not in the road map? Why engage the community to gather insight if there is no plan to respond to the community?

    DrCuriosity asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for the question! The Roadmap is not fully fledged out in the stages when the Charter Commission is formed (assuming the voters on Nov. 8, 2022 approve creating the Commission) because it will be up to that Commission to determine their own process. This is a fully resident-led drafting and creation of a Charter and they will have the ability to determine how they engage the wider community and what their process entails. All we know at this point is that there will be engagement, and we have to wait for the residents on the Commission to determine all the rest of the details. 

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    What was the reason this change was considered and who were the groups or individuals supporting the change?

    ErieRes24768 asked about 1 year ago

    More than 90% Coloradoans live in a home rule municipality. The Town of Erie is the largest Statutory Town in the State based on population. 

    The Board of Trustees directed staff to conduct education, outreach, and research with the residents to see if there is an appetite to put a Home Rule question on the 2022 Ballot. So we are currently talking with the community to see if there is support to add a Home Rule question to the ballot in November. 

    The Board of Trustees will review survey results and public comment in the summer and determine whether to add the question to the November Ballot. At this point we are truly just providing information about what Home Rule is and asking the residents to weigh in with their thoughts.

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    An Advantage per the presentation is "Potentially condemn or annex land to preserve it or stop encroachment of certain activities". What Land would you be seeking to annex? What would you do with said newly acquired land?

    Steve S asked 9 months ago

    To be clear, the Town staff and the Board or Trustees cannot and will not be involved in the creation of a Town Charter if Home Rule moves forward. The Charter will be drafted by an elected body of community members and then voted on by all registered Erie voters. So this is really a question for a future, theoretical Charter Commission. This topic is just and example of something they can consider when drafting the Charter. The Charter Commission will have access to Charters from other communities and can use resources like legal experts to determine what topics make sense for Erie to consider in a draft Charter.

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    What voter and election procedures do you feel limited by? What would change and why? Malcolm mentioned electing trustees by district. Can you elaborate what that means? Would we split the town into districts and candidates would have to run in a designated district only; like congress? How many districts can you foresee the town splitting into and what would be those dividing lines?

    Steve S asked 9 months ago

    To be clear, the Town staff and the Board or Trustees cannot and will not be involved in the creation of a Town Charter if Home Rule moves forward. The Charter will be drafted by an elected body of community members and then voted on by all registered Erie voters. So this is really a question for a future, theoretical Charter Commission. 

    But a Charter Commission could write a Charter that: 

    • In Home Rule municipalities, the Charter could provide for the clerk’s deputies and assistants to be under the general authority of the manager or the clerk.
    • Home Rule Charters adopt all, or parts, of the Municipal Election Code by reference, frequently permitting it to be superseded by ordinance or other Charter provisions.
    • A local government could choose to have appointed judges or adopt the council-manager system with an appointed manager rather than an elected mayor.
    • The Charter could be written to have district boundaries, but that would fully be decided by the Charter Commission and up to them to determine numbers of districts, boundaries of districts, etc. 

    **Nothing about the election process or current voting districts (there are none - all are voted at large) would change unless the Charter Commission writes it into a draft Charter. If they don't mention it, then elections remain status quo.


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    what can you not manage and plan in the streets and traffic that home rule would allow you to?

    Steve S asked 9 months ago

    To be clear, the Town staff and the Board or Trustees cannot and will not be involved in the creation of a Town Charter if Home Rule moves forward. The Charter will be drafted by an elected body of community members and then voted on by all registered Erie voters. So this is really a question for a future, theoretical Charter Commission. 

    But a Charter Commission could write a Charter that would: 

    • Give the Town would have greater flexibility, clarity, and effectiveness in adopting regulations related to:
      • Speed limits and traffic regulations
      • Road closures
      • Oversized weight and size of vehicles
      •  Parking regulations and signs
      • Code enforcement for parking violations


    Yes - the Town can certainly influence and change many things with regard to these this category right now as a Statutory government, but it is typically a much longer and more arduous process than if the procedures were written directly into the Town's Charter.

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    What tax collection and use are you seeking to take advantage of?

    Steve S asked 9 months ago

    To be clear, the Town staff and the Board or Trustees cannot and will not be involved in the creation of a Town Charter if Home Rule moves forward. The Charter will be drafted by an elected body of community members and then voted on by all registered Erie voters. So this is really a question for a future, theoretical Charter Commission.

    That being said, below are just a few things that Commission could consider:

    • Direct tax collection by the Town improves tax procedures and guarantees that local tax dollars remain in the community to fund local projects. This means Erie has the ability to choose how to raise and deploy revenue free from state mandates.
    • The ability to operate as self-governing taxing authorities, adopting and administrating their own sales and use tax code, enforcing compliance, and conducting audits.
    • Determine whether local sales and use tax applies to more than a dozen types of sales that are exempt from the state sales and use tax, including food for home consumption or renewable energy components. 


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    When Will a published plan containing official direction be formally published? So far the reasons for why moving to home rule have been listed as to progress, to mature and it's what's good for Erie. However, Malcolm stated in the home rule Q&A on 4/18 that he cannot recall any past situations that would have been easier with home rule, nor is he aware of any active problems that home rule would help solve. Will the town be formally publishing their intent and plan for what they envision home rule accomplishing?

    Steve S asked 9 months ago

    The Board of Trustees has discussed this on multiple occasions in the past when giving staff direction to explore this topic and will discuss it once more on June 14 when results of public engagement are presented to the Board. At most of these meetings the Board members give their thoughts on why they individually are wanting to explore Home Rule and present feedback on the process.

    In order for this question to officially be places on the ballot in Nov. 2022 for voters to consider, the Board has to make their intentions known to the counties by July - so the meeting in June is a chance to see final engagement information and a meeting in July will be to officially decide if it will be added to the ballot and the ballot language.

Page last updated: 23 Aug 2022, 01:27 PM