Do you have a desire to give back to your community? Are you interested in local government? Would you like to be in a position to positively impact our community? Are you conscientious? Have an open mind? I have just the opportunity for you!
Come April, five seats on Cortez City Council will be open. Three of the vacancies are four-year terms; two are two-year terms. The election is “at large” meaning that if you live anywhere within the city limits, you can run for a seat. Candidates receiving the most votes fill the four-year seats; those coming in fourth and fifth receive the two-year seats. The mayor and mayor pro tem are chosen by council members after their swearing-in on April 28, 2020.
To be a candidate for the 2020 municipal election, you:
Must be a registered voter in the city of Cortez. If you are unsure if you live within the city limits or are registered to vote, call the Montezuma County Clerk at 970-565-3728.Must be 21 years or older.Must have been a city of Cortez resident for 12 consecutive months before the election.The first step in running is to pick up a nomination petition from City Clerk Linda Smith, beginning Monday, Jan. 7. Prospective candidates must secure a minimum of 25 valid signatures to get their name placed on the ballot. Those signing the petition:
Must be registered to vote.Must be 18 years or older.Must list the address of their residence. Addresses outside of the city will be purged.May sign no more than five petitions.To ensure petitions have the minimum number of signatures, it’s recommended that candidates get 30 or more signatures. Petitions are due at City Hall by 5 p.m., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020.
All candidates must comply with the Fair Campaign Practices Act, which covers contributions and expenditures received during the campaign. Filings are made with the city clerk by specified dates, and the process is fast and easy. Linda is extremely helpful and is happy to answer any questions a potential candidate might have. She can be reached at 970-564-4008.
Candidates are provided with a packet outlining some of the responsibilities of council members, and upon election, additional training is provided. Staff is helpful and guidance is provided to make sure that elected officials don’t make missteps that would violate any laws.
Basic responsibilities include attending workshop and council meetings every second and fourth Tuesday of the month with the mayor also attending the Planning and Zoning meeting on the first Tuesday, along with a variety of additional duties as requested.
Packets are emailed to council members the Friday before. In addition, council members are asked to serve on a variety of city-related boards, i.e., Parks and Rec, Library and Golf.
Additional meetings may be held during the year, and council members may choose to attend other meetings of interest. For their service, council members are compensated at $400 per month; the mayor receives $500 per month. Compensation is paid every two weeks with no payment given for meetings missed.
Election day is April 7, 2020. This will be a mail-ballot election. Ballots may be dropped in the mail – plan on mailing a week before the deadline to ensure they arrive at City Hall on time – or they may be delivered to City Hall, 123 Roger Smith Ave. on election day between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
I can attest that serving on City Council can be a wonderful experience. I have learned so much about what it takes to run a city and have had the opportunity to work with a great city staff who work hard for the citizens of this community. I’ve served with wonderful council members who have become friends as well as colleagues. Especially rewarding has been the opportunity to meet citizens, discuss their concerns, share information and in some cases help facilitate solutions to problems. I’ve loved every minute and have felt honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to serve.
If you’ve given some thought to running for office, there’s no time like the present. Still not sure? Contact me. I’d be happy to have a conversation, answer questions, share some insights; and I’m sure that any of the other council members would be happy to visit with you as well. Our emails are listed on the city website: cityofcortez.com.
Karen Sheek is the mayor of Cortez, a position elected by Cortez City Council members. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or during her office hours from 12:30-1:30 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.