Municipal home rule is based upon the theory that the citizens of a municipality should have the right to decide how their local government is to be organized and, within limits, what powers and functions the municipality should exercise. There are two types of cities and towns in Colorado – statutory and home rule. Statutory cities and towns can only exercise those powers and duties as permitted and outlined in state law. So if there is some change a statutory town wants to make to its organization it must be provided for in state law or they must go to the state legislature for approval. A home rule city or town on the other hand has greater independence to determine, through its voters and elected officials, how their government will function and what services it will provide. Most cities and towns in Colorado have adopted home rule charters. The voters in Craig adopted their first Charter in 1956.
Article I Name, Boundaries, Powers, Rights and Liabilities
This article provides for the naming of the City. It provides for the creation of its boundaries as provided by law and provides for the seal of the City. This Article provides a general description of home rule powers, rights and liabilities.
Article II City Council
This article provides for the organization and qualifications of the City Council. This Article also outlines the powers and duties of the City Council. Existing term limits remain in effect. Salaries of the Mayor and Council may now be established by ordinance, but changes do not become effective until the commencement of the terms of council members elected in the next regular election. An addition is that the Mayor must deliver an annual state of the City message. Ordinance procedures are generally retained except that procedures for emergency ordinances have been added.
Article III Departments of City Government
This article establishes the office of City Manager and other departments of the City such as Police, Public Utilities, Finance, Public Works, and Parks and Recreation. The creation of advisory boards and commissions is also provided for in the article.
Article IV Municipal Court
This article provides for the Municipal Court and for the qualifications and function of the Municipal Court Judge. Maximum fines and imprisonment amounts have been raised to 180 days and $1,000.
Article V City Attorney
This article provides for the qualification and appointment of the City Attorney.
Article VI Elections
Current municipal election procedures are generally retained in this article. Reference to the election laws of the State of <st1:State><st1:place>Colorado</st1:place></st1:State> has been added. Campaign expense limits have been raised from $250 to $500. In addition, the Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act has been added for the conduct of municipal campaigns.
Article VII Finance Administration
This article sets forth the procedures for adoption of the annual budget. Most provisions remain unchanged. Some pre-Tabor provisions that no longer apply were eliminated. The powers and duties of the Finance Director were amended to make it clear the position reports to the City Manager. Purchasing procedures largely remain unchanged, although the performance bond requirement for contracts has been raised to $50,000 making the Charter consistent with State law.
Article VIII Franchises and Public Utilities
Much of the language in this article was deleted since franchise regulations are extensively covered by State law. This article now is a brief summary of the City's authority to grant franchises. The maximum term of a franchise agreement is 25 years.
Article IX Eminent Domain
This is an area of the law that over the past several years has been changing at both the state and federal levels, both by the legislatures and the courts. Therefore, much of the language in this article has been removed since the City will be governed by legislation and case law in the future. The general authority of eminent domain, condemnation, and payment of just compensation is provided for in this article.
Article X Initiative, Referendum and Recall
This article provides a general description of the Initiative, Referendum, and Recall procedures as provided in State law and as required by the State Constitution. Initiative petitions are required to have no fewer than 15% of the total number of registered electors within the City. Referendum petitions are required to have no fewer than 10% of the total number of registered electors within the City. Recall petitions are required to have no fewer than 25% of the total vote cast at the last municipal election.
Article XI Annexation
This article provides for annexation in accordance with procedure and requirements of State law. A section was deleted that required dedication of streets, alleys, recreation areas, schools, etc. prior to annexation. Often, undeveloped vacant property is annexed and these dedications are made after annexation as the property is subdivided and developed.
Article XII General, Miscellaneous and Transitional Provisions
This article provides for the way in which the Charter may be amended, the effective date of the Charter, penalties for Charter violations, and for the continuance of all current ordinances, resolutions, rules, regulations, policies and procedures not inconsistent with this Charter. This article also provides for the continuation of the Mayor and Council members. Lastly, there is savings clause included which among other things declares that the adoption of this Charter will not destroy any property right, contract right, or right of action of any nature or kind.
Article XIII Definitions
This article has been added to provide definitions of terms used in the Charter.