Ad Hoc Charter Study Committee
Forty one years ago, the residents of Weld County decided they wanted to have direct say in how their county government was run. In fact, the preamble of the Home Rule Charter states: “We, the people of Weld County, Colorado, in order to avail ourselves of self-determination in county affairs…establish and adopt this Home Rule Charter for Weld County, Colorado.” This is important because the charter is not only the foundation for how our county government is formed and administered but also how it can be changed. Fact one: the only group that can change the structure of Weld County’s government are the residents of Weld County.
In the summer of 2016, some members of the Weld County Council expressed the desire to dissolve their group. The Weld County Council cannot make the decision to dissolve themselves so discussion was initiated amongst the Board of Commissioners regarding the formation of a charter review committee. Charter review committees have been used several times during the past 40 years to make recommendations regarding changes and updates to the governing document. Fact two: there are two ways to amend the county charter – by petition(s) signed by at least 5% of the electorate or by resolution adopted by the Board of Commissioners. Either route leads to the same point – a public vote by the residents (registered electors) of the county.
A charter review committee can be tasked to review specific items within the charter or the entire charter itself. Following their review, they provide recommendations to the Board or Commissioners regarding any suggested amendments. The Board of Commissioners can then, by resolution, submit any proposed amendment(s) to the qualified electors. Any recommended amendments, however, must be confined to a single subject for purposes of the ballot. There may be several single-subject amendments on the ballot if that is the wish of the charter review committee. Fact three: the Board of County Commissioners cannot alter the Home Rule Charter – only the public, by way of a vote, can alter anything in document. Simply put, the only way to modify or abolish any county entity, elected or otherwise, is by a vote of the electorate.