Colorado, Salida municipal government facts & stats

By: Emily Katsimpalis, Administrative Intern and Audrey Gilpin, Deputy City Clerk

With the regular municipal election approaching and the first day to pick up nomination petitions August 6th, a brief overview of the organizational structure and statistics of municipal government in Salida and Colorado might be useful.

The City of Salida has a mayor-council form of government, which is the default structure for a statutory city. Larger cities including Denver and Aurora also have a mayor-council form of government, in which the elected mayor is a full-time position and runs the day-to-day governing of the city, including the hiring and firing of department heads and other executive decisions. Based on state statute, a mayor-council form of government also allows for the appointment of “such other officers, including a city administrator, as may be necessary or desirable.”

In 1985, the city council passed an ordinance providing for the employment of a city administrator for the City of Salida.  Together the elected council and mayor hire the city manager or city administrator, who runs the day to day operations of the city. In addition, the city administrator’s role is defined in Chapter 2 of the Salida Municipal Code. City Council and mayor also appoint the city attorney and municipal judge.

In the mayor-council form there is an elected council and elected mayor, and the mayor is a ceremonial head of government that presides over council meetings. In 1981, the then city council passed an ordinance defining the mayor’s role in that he or she shall not be entitled to vote on any matter before the city council, except in the case of a tie. However, the mayor may veto any ordinances or resolutions authorizing the expenditure of money, i.e. the budget.

Today there are 271 incorporated cities and towns in Colorado. They range in size from a population of 8 (Lakeside) to over 620,000 (Denver). Traditionally, the legislative classification of statutory municipalities as cities or towns is based on population; towns are municipalities with populations under 2,000. Cities are those with populations over 2,000. According to Colorado Municipal League April 2013 statistics, there are 173 cities/towns with managers or administrators. There are about 1,800 municipal elected officials throughout the state, including mayors, councilmembers and trustees, of which 30.7 percent are women.

This year’s regular municipal election is on Tuesday, November 5th. The election will be coordinated with Chaffee County.

There will be three open seats on City Council (Ward 1, 2, 3), and the Mayor’s seat. Councilmembers serve a four-year term and the Mayor serves a two-year term. The elected City Clerk and City Treasurer positions will also be open, and they serve a four-year term.

For more information, please call Audrey Gilpin, Deputy City Clerk, at 530-2630.