Castle Rock has officially set a special election for May 15 in order to begin implementing an at-large mayor system in the town. Voters in November approved switching to a system where the mayor is …
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Castle Rock has officially set a special election for May 15 in order to begin implementing an at-large mayor system in the town.
Voters in November approved switching to a system where the mayor is elected by a town-wide vote, rather than appointed by the town council.
They also approved cutting the number of council districts from seven to six, which will require the town to redistrict in the near future.
The special election will ask voters through two separate ballot questions to, in one question, approve setting the first at-large mayor election for Nov. 6 and allow redistricting to occur in 2018. As part of that, two councilmembers would also be elected on Nov. 6, and the remaining four councilmember races would follow in the next regular election.
In a second question, the town will ask voters to approve qualifications for being mayor. Those qualifications would require the mayor be a registered elector of Castle Rock, a resident for at least one year and a U.S. citizen.
Castle Rock will mail ballots for the special election the week of April 23. Ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on May 15 by mail or in-person at one of two 24-hour drop-off locations. One drop-off location is located at town hall, 100 N. Wilcox Street, and the second at Douglas County Elections, 125 Stephanie Place.
The switch to an at-large system was the result of a citizen-led petition that gathered enough signatures to send the issue to a special election. Voters approved the measure by 67 percent.
Supporters said the move was a win for the town and would ensure the mayor represented all residents, rather than the district in which they lived. Opponents feared that approving the new system would be a premature move, in part because the petition did not include a transition plan.
Since the measure passed, the town has discussed when to elect the mayor and redistrict, discussed what a mayor's qualifications should be, and formed a citizen committee to help answer those questions, which led to council calling the May 15 election.
Town attorney Bob Slentz has told council the changes must be made to implement an at-large mayor, but because that means amending the town charter, the changes must be approved by the voters.
Should residents vote down the proposal on May 15, Slentz said, the town would be back to the drawing board for how to put in place an at-large mayor.
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