Two Weld County political groups set stage for fight over fate of oversight board | MyWindsorNow.com

Two Weld County political groups set stage for fight over fate of oversight board

Tyler Silvy
tsilvy@greeleytribune.com

The sides are set in a battle for and against a Weld County watchdog group that could die a voter-approved death this November.

Two issue committees have formed in the two weeks since the Board of Weld County Commissioners voted to put a question that would disband the Weld County Council on the November ballot.

The Committee to Save the Weld County Council, as its name suggests, wants to spare the council. That committee is run by Kathy Stroh and Gerald Kilpatrick.

We the People, an issue committee started by former county council members Dale Hall and Marge Klein, both of whom spoke out during a county commissioners meeting about the need to disband the county council.

Both groups officially registered Friday, and officials from both say their goal is education. Although, for Kilpatrick, ignorance regarding the council's existence and duties could favor the disband-the-council crowd.

"They'll say they're trying to streamline government, remove a layer of government," Kilpatrick said. "Most people believe in smaller government. I do. But you've got to be careful."

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Indeed, Hall brought up that very point. But he went further.

"The only issue I'm seeing against that concept would be the effectiveness of it," Hall said. "What's it done in the last 20-30 years? Nothing, really."

The council recently hired a third-party, independent consultant to audit the Weld County Clerk and Recorder's Office and the county commissioners. The timing of the commissioners' decision to look into disbanding the council — the day before the commissioners' audit was released, has raised questions.

But the bigger question, both sides say, is letting people know what the council does.

For Hall, it's about education then asking whether the council has been effective in its role. But there's a lot of educating to do, Hall said.

"If you ask somebody on the street, they ask, 'Isn't that where Tom Norton is the mayor?' " Hall said.

Hall was referencing the Greeley City Council, a completely separate entity from the Weld County Council, an oversight board formed in 1975 as part of the Weld County Charter.

The charter gives the council a variety of roles, including the ability to monitor and report on Weld County government, including through the use of audits, as well as set elected officials' salaries, among other duties.

To get the message out, Hall said his group would like to raise at least $5,000, though he said $8,000-$10,000 would be better.

Kilpatrick didn't put a number on a fundraising goal, but he did say he'd like to be able to send a mailer to Weld County households.

Depending on printing costs, mass mailers typically cost about $3,000 in Weld County, according to known costs of similar initiatives. Kilpatrick said given the timing of the election, during an off-year, education is even more important.

Kilpatrick said fundraising will be a big challenge, and he hopes the save-the-council group gets a boost or two from high-profile politicians showing support.

"I'm hoping they do, because that will go a long way toward people getting on board," Kilpatrick said.

For Hall, it's all about spreading the word "small," as in small government.

"(The Weld County Council) is just an added layer of government in a county that supposedly prides itself on smaller government," Hall said.

— Tyler Silvy covers government and politics for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at tsilvy@greeleytribune.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.

Two committees enter, one wins

Issue committees are political groups formed to support or oppose a ballot issue or ballot question. Weld County has one of each when it comes to whether to disband the Weld County Council.

» Committee to Save the Weld County Council

Registered Sept. 8, 2017.

Registered agent: Kathy Stroh.

Designated filing agent: Gerald Kilpatrick.

Contact: 20487 Weld County Road 33, LaSalle; (303) 596-8132.

» We the People

Registered Sept. 8, 2017.

Registered agent: Dale Hall.

Designated filing agent: Marge Klein.

Contact: 870 S. Fulton Ave., Fort Lupton; (303) 246-2716.

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