History of accountability
Just as the United States has the Constitution, the Town has the Town Charter.
The Charter is the basic, foundational document for the Town of Castle Rock. It defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of our local government as well as the rights of citizens. It outlines everything from the Town's name, to Town Council elections, to the process for making laws by local ordinance and other more permanent criteria for running a local government.
As a home-rule municipality, the Town is bound, by law, to follow the Town Charter. In addition, the Charter can only be changed by a popular vote.
"The Commission members have sought to prepare a Charter which ensures that the government of the Town remains accountable to the citizens, while providing a structure for quality government," stated the Home Rule Charter Commission in the introduction to the Charter, adopted in 1987.
With that in mind, the Town Charter defines the following:
- Article I: Name, Boundaries, Powers and Form of Government
- Article II: Town Council
- Article II: Town Administration
- Article IV: Elections
- Article V: Legal and Judiciary
- Article VI: Council Procedures
- Article VII: Ordinances, Resolutions and Motions
- Article VIII: Water Rights
- Article IX: Budget Control and Finance
- Article X: Municipal Borrowing
- Article XI: Improvement Districts
- Article XII: (Reserved)
- Article XIV: Franchises and Permits
- Article XV: Initiative, Referendum and Recall
- Article: XVI: Miscellaneous Provisions
- Article XVII: Transition Period
A Charter versus Town Code
The core difference between a Town Charter and Town Code is that the Charter is a foundational document. All home-rule municipalities must have one to cover what State Statute covers for other municipalities that do not have a home-rule charter. Charters can be more, but not less, restrictive than State Statute.
Town Code, by contrast, is the Town's laws and regulations related to public health and safety, zoning and general welfare. Town Code can be changed by Council, or, in some cases, a vote through the initiative or referendum process.