Woodland voters may give local newspaper the legal boot

Woodland voters may give local newspaper the legal bootpublic_notice

Rick Langenberg

Woodland Park residents will probably vote on a number of changes and amendments to the city charter during the spring election of 2016.

And although no decisions have been made yet, citizens may decide on whether they want to end the mandated process of requiring the publishing of city legal notices and ordinances in a designated legal newspaper, or if the city should use another method for notifying the public. Plus, the issue of term limits and changing the way the city handles vacancies for elected positions and for members of advisory committees, are expected to top the ballot list. In addition, voters will probably cast a few tallies on house-keeping measures, aimed at streamlining the current regulations and land use rules.

These are some of the possible pending ballot issues, according to Mayor Pro Tem Carrol Harvey, who heads the city’s charter review committee.

The volunteer, advisory group has been given the hefty task of reviewing the citys charter, developed in the 1970s and slightly updated about 15 years ago.

During a brief update earlier this month, Harvey stated that many people no longer read newspapers, and so there are concerns about compiling a better way for informing the public about notices and ordinances, such as through the Internet and social media. But she conceded that the committee didnt make any firm recommendations regarding this issue. If the city does change its notification process, a charter amendment would have to occur. This topic could spark much discussion in the community.

For years, the city has used the Pikes Peak Courier, known previously as the Ute Pass Courier, for this designation. This designation is made on an annual basis.

Also, Harvey said the committee is debating the issue of how to handle vacancies of elected seats and those of volunteer committees. This became a big issue last summer, when the council basically appointed a new mayor through a chance drawing, after the majority of elected leaders couldnt pick a mayoral winner and had several tie votes. This occurred several weeks after former Mayor Dave Turley stepped down. This chance pick for mayor generated many complaints from community leaders.

The committee will meet again in August. Once the committee finalizes its recommendations for possible ballot issues, the city council will address their findings and make the final decision on what questions appears on the April 2016 ballot.

In other city news, Teller County Waste moved another step forward in its efforts to establish an expanded business operation in Woodland Park, develop a local headquarters and start a community recycling hub. The council at a recent meeting unanimously approved plans to combine a number of parcels into one overall project area. With this approval, the company leaped another hurdle in the process of obtaining a building permit and proceeding with about $200,000 worth of improvements.