Judy Wiedner is determined to foster a vote to unincorporate the town of Green Mountain Falls and be part of El Paso County.
This is the second time around for Wiedner who led an unsuccessful campaign several years ago.
But times are different now. With just two full-time employees, the marshal and a maintenance man, along with torrential rains and flooding, the town is in trouble.
Last week, Wiedner started her petition drive to secure 25 percent of registered voters in Green Mountain Falls as well as the few who live in the Teller County side. Her goal is to get the measure on the November ballot.
That means she must turn in 433 valid signatures.
But Mayor Jane Newberry warns against the move. According to state statute, once a petition with the required number of signatures is submitted to the district court and verified, there are legal notice requirements (done by the court). At that point, the measure can be placed on the next regular election.
The petitioners think it is headed for this November’s election, Newberry said, adding that the statute calls for the vote to be at the next regular election which means April 2020.
If the discontinuance were to pass — and it would need two-thirds of registered voters to pass — the town assets would be sold and the remaining money, after any debts are paid, would go to the school fund, District 14, Newberry said.
The town’s assets are all buildings, parks, the pool and the trails, since they are part of the park system. “All would be sold. All equipment would be sold. Gazebo lake and park — gone,” Newberry said. “People have asked if the town could ‘gift’ the parks, etc., to a civic group, but that would be illegal and unethical.”
As well, there is no guarantee that any one group would keep up the parks in perpetuity, she added. “There has been talk that El Paso County could take over the parks, but they really aren’t interested in that. All town employees would be unemployed.”
If voters do approve the measure, El Paso County would be essentially forced to take over police and road services. “That would be asking them to take on more work with no more money,” she said. “As one of the five largest counties in the state, that would not be an easy thing for El Paso County to absorb. The citizens have to ask themselves if giving up these assets is worth it. For some, the answer would be yes, but for many, the answer will be absolutely not.”