County Commissioner Numbers May Increase

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Mesa County Commissioners want voters to decide if the number of commissioners should increase from three to five.

Doug Lucas lives in Mesa County, and he thinks more county commissioners would help represent the diversity of our growing area. He says, "the more opinions you have the more people you have the better you represent the individuals in the county."

Representation, Western Colorado Congress says is the underlying issue in the ballot questions. Hannah Holm explains, "We just hope that the commissioners will take broader public input before they decide which options to put on the ballot."

One option is that all five commissioners would live in their respective districts but would be voted on by everyone in the county. The second option is to have three commissioners living in their districts and have two at large in the county. Each would be voted on by all voters in the county.

Commissioner Janet Rowland says, "the plus side is that you would have more representation, and you would have two more people when you're talking policy issues. The flip side of that is we always want to be cautious before we grow government. We can't necessarily assume that growing government larger is going to make it better and more efficient."

Some think that voters in each district should be able to vote for whoever represents their district. Mesa County resident Cheryl Schloesslin says "someone that lives in the area may have a better idea of what people want." Hannah Holm backs Schloesslin’s opinion by saying, it’s a "pretty important decision that the public should be allowed to weigh in on.”

The Mesa County Commissioners will hold a meeting on February 25th to discuss the ballot question. If voters choose to add two more commissioners, the county will have come up with an extra $200,000 every year. An additional $48,000 would be needed for the first year.

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