Thu, Jan. 23

Home Rule Option to be on ballot for Clarkdale

The Home Rule Option, an alternative expenditure limitation, will be on the ballot for Clarkdale's primary election in March. Home Rule Option gives town officials the freedom to determine the town's own expenditures based on local, state and federal revenues. Otherwise, the state will impose a limitation on spending, and that limitation may not meet the city or town's needs.

Voters must approve this option every four years. Clarkdale voters have approved it every time it has been on the ballot since its implementation in 1980.

This has not been the case with all cities and towns in Arizona. Member Services Director Tom Belshe with the League of Arizona Cities and Towns said there have been a few places where Home Rule is offered and voters have decided against it.

"When they reject it, we generally found they end up voting back for it the next time," said Belshe. "People realize that it works the way it is intended to work."

He said there are 13 cities or towns that do not utilize a voter-approved spending plan. Out of the 90 cities and towns in Arizona, 77 have some sort of alternative expenditure limitation.

Clarkdale's Administrative Services Director Joyce Driscoll said the state limitation limits the town to a lower expenditure level. With the higher limit set by the town, there is generally more money for local purposes such as emergency services, streets, parks, cemeteries and other services.

For the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the state-imposed limitation for Clarkdale would be $4,933,625. Under Home Rule Option the town would be able to spend $8,780,000.

Expenditure limitations are based on revenues, population and inflation.

Belshe said a primary reason Home Rule is good is because it gives citizens the opportunity to interact with local governments.

"They get to make direct decisions on how money is spent," he said.

Primary Election Day is March 14. Ballots are all mail-in ballots and will be sent out from the town starting Feb. 20. The last day to register to vote in the primary election is Feb.13. Contact the Secretary of State office for questions regarding voter registration and the impact of Proposition 200.

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