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After months of drafting and input from community members, Monument Town’s first home government charter will be submitted to voters for adoption on November 8.
Last year, residents of the monument voted to change the city’s form of government from statutory rule to home rule and selected nine citizens to form a commission that would draft its home rule charter. The November ballot wording will ask voters whether this now-finalized charter should pass.
The draft charter outlines how the city would develop local ordinances, collect taxes, make decisions, define zoning, create election laws, obtain court proceedings, create districts to better represent areas of residents, create opportunities for economic development, define roads, issue bonds, and give the city more flexibility to solve local problems without being limited by state requirements.
If passed, Monument would become a self-governing municipality from January 1.
Charter Commission Chairman Steve King said establishing an internal regime is important for growing communities like Monument because it gives them the flexibility to address their own concerns, desires and interests rather than to live under the laws of the state. The city’s website says local autonomy would allow Monument to move forward “strategically” through “more government efficiency, more revenue-generating options, and more control over land use.”
These new revenue-generating options are the biggest benefit of adopting the self-reliance charter, King said.
“We wanted (the government) to be more citizen-centric,” he said. “The biggest benefit to the city itself is that it allows us to collect our own sales tax revenue directly.”
Under the statutory rule, sales tax collection is done by the state, which decides how much revenue Monument is entitled to from the collection, King told The Tribune this month. Because of this, the city risks being “aggrieved” about collecting its fair share of taxes without “any real way to challenge or audit” the state’s accounts.
Being a self-governing municipality would allow the city to collect these taxes directly past the state “middleman”, and other self-governing communities have noticed an increase in their revenue once they have passed self-reliance, King said.
The municipality could also capitalize on hotel and short-term rental traffic by collecting the accommodation tax, which it cannot do under the law.
“It gives us other revenue from outside that doesn’t come from residents (taxes),” King said.
After last year’s elections, the commission “immediately” began meeting once a week for six months, often for hours, and drew on other recently drafted self-governance charters and data from from similar Colorado communities like Castle Pines and Centennial, as well as public input. citizens of Monument.
“We used other charters that were in place; we didn’t reinvent the wheel,” King said. “Then we added language more suited to our community in addition to what we found in other communities.”
The Monument Home Rule charter commission was unaware of any opposition to the issue.
If the measure does not pass, the commission would remain intact and have a second opportunity to put the charter on a future ballot, he said. If it failed a second time, the project would be disbanded and another charter would have to be drafted for possible adoption at a later date.
“We would remain statutory until this point,” King said.
The drafted charter can be read in full on Monument’s website at www.tomgov.com, as well as on the Citizens of Monument for Home Rule Facebook page.