Walsenburg City Council mulls staggered terms

by Brian Orr

WALSENBURG- The Walsenburg City Council met again Tuesday night with a full quorum, and moved through their agenda with a minimum of sidelining.

    The biggest issue to come up was the idea of staggering councilpersons’  terms, to minimize the risk of getting a whole new Board every two years.  Right now, all the council, plus the mayor have to stand for re-election every two years.  The current Board only has two ‘veteran’ members, which makes it difficult to keep continuity for ongoing city projects, such as the Northlands annexation or the wastewater treatment plant, which can span several term periods.  There is also the question of term limits.  The Board and the Mayor are now limited to three terms. or six years.

    City Counsel Dan Hyatt, who has served as counsel for several other cities and towns, commented that Walsenburg is just about the only place he can recall where Boardmembers only serve two year terms and not four.  He had drawn up two different proposed ordinances for the Board to consider what type of change to adopt, if any.  Comments and discussion ranged back and forth about getting citizens to serve that long versus maintaining the Board’s ‘memory’ for ongoing projects.  Mayor Edi Sheldon affirmed Hyatt’s belief that a mayor should be kept to two-year terms, so that person could be more responsive to citizens’ desires.

    The Board voted to adopt a one-time change for the next election, where one of the people from each ward would either serve a two or four year term, either by a lottery, or by who got the most votes.  Convoluted?  Yes.  Expect some fine-tuning to be done.

    In other business, Lou Taylor, Chairman of the safety committee reported that a crosswalk on Seventh Street by Walsenburg Wild Waters “was a done deal.”  He also noted that county dispatch center desperately needed new equipment- “What they have now is older than pens and pencils,” he said.

    It was noted there will be a public workshop to help create the City’s comprehensive plan on April 9 at 6 pm at the community center in Walsenburg. 

    There will also be a business roundtable on March 27 at 5:30 pm at the community center to discuss ways of saving energy, particularly for businesses.  People interested in attending the roundtable need to RSVP with the county commissioners at 738-2370.  See page 2 for more details.