Greeley ballot measures could boost voter say on water issues

GREELEY — The Greeley city council with all members present at a special meeting Tuesday voted 7-0 to place two city charter amendments on the Nov. 2 regular election ballot.

The meeting lasted 16 minutes, with presentations by city clerk Anissa Hollingshead and city attorney Doug Marek but no public comment.

Mayor John Gates said of the expedited consideration, “it’s our precedent, and we’re not going to break it this evening.” He said Greeley city staff had met with the petitioners to agree on how measures would be presented to voters — “There’s clearly a difference of opinion on the ballot language” — but the meeting “wasn’t particularly fruitful.”

Hollingshead noted technical elements of the process as applied to these measures. The amendments were presented to the city in early May, signed petitions came in by an Aug. 2 deadline, her office certified the signatures of at least 5% of registered voters on Aug. 23, and the city council the next day set the meeting held last night.

Gates said a special meeting was needed because measures have to be submitted to the county this week.

Language

Tuesday’s city council vote was about approving the titles and sending the measures to the county for the ballot in November and not directly on the measures themselves.

Contention has come on naming the amendments, the proposed new charter sections 17-9 and 17-10.

The title of 17-9 is “Procedures for Sale of Water and/or Water Supply and Treatment Facilities.” The one for 17-10 is “Procedures for Acquisition and Provision of Ground Water and/or Recycled Wastewater.”

A note in the “updates” section of the website for Save Greeley’s Water, which supports the measures, said the city council’s titles “take misrepresentation and lies up to another level, even for them.”

Material on the city’s water and sewer website said approving the changes “would make Greeley the only city in Colorado to require a special election to approve water management decisions the city considers to be routine.” It said special elections would be expensive and limit timely decision-making.

Marek said Tuesday that citizens petition, the city clerk certifies petitions, and state statutes show “it is up to the city council to set the ballot titles.”

The council “considers the consequences if they were to pass” in doing so, he said.

Titles and certification go to the Weld County Clerk-Recorder and “they’ll be on the ballot.” If approved by voters, amendments “become embedded in municipal charter.”

Councilmember Tommy Butler asked Marek about the process “if there was a protest” on ballot language.

Marek said protests have to come within five days of filing with the county, and it would be an “expedited case in district court.”

GREELEY — The Greeley city council with all members present at a special meeting Tuesday voted 7-0 to place two city charter amendments on the Nov. 2 regular election ballot.

The meeting lasted 16 minutes, with presentations by city clerk Anissa Hollingshead and city attorney Doug Marek but no public comment.

Mayor John Gates said of the expedited consideration, “it’s our precedent, and we’re not going to break it this evening.” He said Greeley city staff had met with the petitioners to agree on how measures would be presented to voters — “There’s clearly a difference of opinion on the ballot language” — but the meeting “wasn’t particularly fruitful.”

Hollingshead noted technical elements of the process as applied to these measures. The amendments were presented to the city in early May, signed petitions came in by an Aug. 2 deadline, her office certified the signatures of at least 5% of registered voters on Aug. 23, and the city council the next day set the meeting held last night.

Gates said a special meeting was needed because measures have to be submitted to the county this week.

Language

Tuesday’s city council vote was about approving the titles and sending the measures to the county for the ballot in November and not directly on the measures themselves.

Contention has come on naming the amendments, the proposed new charter sections 17-9 and 17-10.

The title of 17-9 is “Procedures for Sale of Water and/or Water Supply and Treatment Facilities.” The one for 17-10 is “Procedures for Acquisition and Provision of Ground…