Green Mountain Falls residents petitioning to unincorporate

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A local group in Green Mountain Falls is trying to petition for the town to be unincorporated. This would detach them from the municipality and put them into county jurisdiction. 

The key points of this citizen group are their displeasure with the local government and high tax rates. 

The mayor said many of the government workers are volunteers, and in a small town slow responses are to be expected, but she said with unincorporation, a lot more is at stake. 

In total, the town has fewer than 10 paid employees, with many of them being part-time. 

“Green Mountain Falls is [paying] higher in tax rates than almost every other town in Colorado,” Julia Wiedner, a resident who supports the change, said.

If the petition were to go through, the town would fall into the hands of the counties. 62 percent of Green Mountain Falls is in El Paso County, and the rest is in Teller County. Everything from infrastructure to public safety would be handled by them.

“There is a little bit of schism of who we belong to,” Micheal Lohman, who is one of the petitioners, said. “The citizens are being left out.” 

“We would like a consistent government,” Lohman said.  

Green Mountain Falls Mayor Jane Newberry also gave her perspective on the consistency of government.  

“I don’t agree with the lack of consistency, but what people need to understand is all of the board, the mayor, are volunteer positions,” she said. “People come and go. They get to come and go.”

Newberry recognizes the property tax in the form of a mill levy is high, but that funds a majority of their budget. 

The mayor said she isn’t doing this just to protect her own job, which is a volunteer position. 

“I don’t have a stake in this game at all, as mayor,” Newberry said. “But certainly, as a homeowner and as a citizen, there is a lot to lose.”

If the petition succeeds, all public town assets will be sold.

“Every public property, that’s the open space that our trails are on, that’s all our parks, that’s the municipal pool, that is the lake where the gazebo is, that all goes away,” Newberry said. “If you love your town, if you have any sense of responsibility, how could you just do that?”

The petition would only get the unincorporation question on the ballot. The rest would be up to the voters. The mayor noted it wouldn’t be on a ballot until April 2020, but the citizen group said they would ask for a special election before then. 

Wiedner and Lohman told FOX21 they submitted the petition to the local court, but the court disputes that they are the ones who should be receiving the petition. 

FOX21 reached out to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, who told us that the process is unclear and they’ll have to look into the rules on this specific case.   

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