Ballot Question 3A — Shall the Town of Erie proposed home rule charter be adopted?
Yes / For
No / Against
In November 2022, Erie passed ballot measure 103, establishing a commission to draft the town’s first home rule charter. The proposed covenant is on this November’s ballot for approval, plus one immediate amendment to the charter (more on that in Town of Erie Ballot Question 3B). We endorse a yes vote on Question 3A because the charter seems thoughtfully crafted and flexible.
Home rule is a form of governance defined by the residents of a municipality that allows for more control over matters of local importance. Charters are drafted by citizens, detailing the structure and powers of the local government. Without a home rule charter, local governments are subject to state laws, though state law may still take precedence in certain matters.
Charters must be comprehensive enough to provide a solid foundation for running a multi-million dollar municipality, while also being flexible enough to change with the times.
Cities typically adopt home rule rights when they reach a population of 2,000 people. Erie has 35,000 residents.
An at-large mayoral position; three districts with two town Council members each; all elected officials serve four-year terms; staggered terms within districts; a limit of two consecutive terms for councilmembers; even-year elections; filling vacancies based on the resident vote; campaign finance transparency; recalls using a number of signatures based on the percentage of votes; voter approval for any new taxes; an Open Space Board; voter-determined City Council pay; and special district reform.
The current Council will remain
seated through 2024. An election in November 2024 will determine new council members in 2025.
The Charter Commission created multiple paths for residents to comment, held a monthly meeting for public participation and gave weekly updates through town channels and social media. The Commission also studied home rule charters adopted by other locales.
We believe it’s a sensibly written charter that brings Erie into line with the other 93% of Colorado municipalities with home rule.
Ballot Question 3B — Compensation of Mayor and Council Members
Yes / For
No / Against
Erie’s Home Charter Rule Commission couldn’t decide on a salary for council members, so they decided to leave it up to the voters. This measure seeks to give the mayor of Erie $1,200 a month, and $700 to each council member, plus “other non-monetary compensation or benefits as may be set by ordinance,” which could include things like health care.
Council pay will be adjusted annually according to the consumer price index for the Denver-Boulder-Greeley area, starting in January 2025.
This would amount to $14,400 for the mayor of Erie. It’s a pittance for participation in more than 20 meetings per year, plus countless hours talking to constituents and city staff to learn about issues. We think a higher salary would allow more people to participate in city government.
However, it’s on par with council rates in similarly sized nearby cities. Voters can approve increases in council pay down the road if they want to. We endorse a yes on question 3B.