Town staff prepares for special election

By Rudy Hemmann
The Surveyor

The Berthoud Board of Trustees, at Tuesday evening’s meeting, held a brief discussion concerning the fairest way to go about the selection process to determine the future mayor for the town.

The verdict was reached relatively quickly. Town Attorney Greg Bell led off the discussion by stating, “I don’t see that the way forward is terribly complex. The choice left to you is to set up a special election to select a new mayor or to appoint a new mayor.”

Bell explained he had included copies of the applicable state statutes in the packets for the members of the board and highlighted the passages that were pertinent to the situation.

He also noted, due to state statutes, the dates on which a special election could be held were somewhat limited. According to an information sheet provided by Bell, “The following statutory requirements must be considered when scheduling a special election:

  • No special election may be scheduled 90 days preceding a regular election.
  • No special election may be scheduled 32 days before or after a primary, general or congressional vacancy election.
  • A special election must be held at least 60 days after the date it is called.

Since the state is conducting a statewide primary election on June 28 and a general election on Nov. 8, the available dates on which a special election may be held are: Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27; and Oct. 4.

Bell also stated the statute stipulates the position being filled must be declared as “vacant” (for the time being) in the motion calling for the special election. Bell stated the person elected through the special election would serve approximately two years, until the next municipal election in 2018, at which time the individual could run again or step away from the position.

During discussion by the board, all members voiced approval for the special election. Trustee Jennifer Baker bemoaned the town needing to spend $10,000 to $15,000 on a special election, but in the interest of “fairness and transparency” it was the right thing to do.

Mayor Gregg stated virtually every town citizen he had spoken with favored a special election.

A motion declaring the office of mayor vacant and to hold a special election on the earliest practicable date was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

The board, on a split vote, also chose a mayor pro-tem. “There is certain business of the town that has to occur whether I am available or not,” said Gregg, “Because of that we need to appoint a mayor pro-tem, at least for the time I will be continuing to serve (as mayor) … I would like to ask for your confirmation of (Trustee) Chris Buckridge for the position of mayor pro-tem.”

Gregg acknowledged there was discussion concerning the qualifications of the second in command which he dismissed by stating Buckridge possessed qualities complimentary to his and was someone he would be comfortable working with.

Following a few minutes of discussion regarding the appointment, Gregg made a motion naming Buckridge to the mayor pro-tem slot, and the motion was seconded. Gregg, Buckridge, Baker and Trustee Kelly Dunkelberger voted “Yes,” and Trustees Brian Laak, William Karspeck and Jeff Hindman voting “No.”

The trustees also appointed two members of the board to the planning commission. Baker and Dunkelberger were appointed to seats on the commission.

Taking action on an agenda item, which is largely considered to be housekeeping, the trustees unanimously passed a resolution reappointing the Town Clerk Alisa Darrow; Deputy Town Clerk Tamiko Brewster; Treasurer Cindy Leach; Town Administrator Mike Hart; Chief of Police LCSO Sargent Jim Anderson and appointing the law firm of Bell, Gould, Linder and Scott as the town attorney. A motion in support of the resolution was made, seconded and approved unanimously.

The trustees heard a presentation by Girl Scout Troop 70700 concerning the possibility of hanging bat boxes (essentially condominiums for bats) in trees in city parks. Their presentation explained the benefits bats provide – mainly eating mosquitoes and other small insects. The troop members are partnering with the town parks employees to get the boxes hung this year.

It was noted the town’s Arbor Day celebration would be held Saturday, April 30, 2016, at 10 a.m. in Fickel Park.