Petition Circulating to Expand Number of County Commissioners
by Carin Kirkegaard
Douglas County has been one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. With this growth, the number of constituents the Douglas County Board of Commissioners serves has grown as well. It is because of this growth that the Douglas County Voters for Local Representation, a group of concerned citizens, is circulating a petition to expand the number of commissioners from three to five.
The citizen group, formed by Jerri Hill and her husband, Charles Bucknam, and Castle Pines North (CPN) residents, Doug Gilbert and his wife, Cheryl Schuessler, hopes to provide more direct representation for the County with the additional commissioners.
According to Douglas County records, the population grew by six percent last year. Currently, the three commissioners are handling the concerns of an entire county that is home to more than 266,000 residents.
By Colorado State Statutes, the Board of County Commissioners serves as the “legislative, policy-making and administrative body governing the unincorporated areas.” Douglas County has nearly 70 percent of residents living in unincorporated communities like CPN.
The three current commissioners are paid a combined annual salary of $189,000. There are concerns that adding two additional commissioners would increase costs for the County.
One of the tasks put before the commissioners is to obtain financing from state and federal sources. Supporters of the petition believe that two additional commissioners will allow for more time to seek out available state and federal funding.
“Increasing the number of commissioners from three to five does not mean more big government. It provides more input from the County’s citizens on a local level, and holds the commissioner accountable to their district,” said Hill.
The petition stipulates two separate options for the five commissioners to be elected. The first option would have voters from five districts across the county elect a commissioner for their respective district. The second option would have voters from three districts elect a commissioner, with the other two positions elected at large. Currently, all commissioners are elected at large from one of three geographic districts for four-year staggered terms.
The citizen group will be conducting a signature petition drive. If the drive is successful, the question will be put to voters on the November, 2006 election ballot. If approved, two additional Commissioners would be elected at the next General Election in 2008.
For more information about this petition contact the citizen group at 720-207-9496.
Watch future issues of “The Connection” and the Castle Pines North website for more information as it becomes available.