RIO GRANDE COUNTY- The Greater South Fork Marketing District Committee is seeking to place a question on the November 2020 ballot to form a marketing district in the greater South Fork area. In a meeting held by Rio Grande County Commissioners Wednesday, July 29, GSFCF representative Michele Cruse gave a brief overview of what the organization was seeking and what they needed to complete in order for the marketing district to be on the upcoming election ballot.
Rio Grande County Clerk Cindy Hill explained that the organization would need to collect signatures from business owners within the proposed district boundaries and that the decision to certify the petition would be based on 60 percent of all commercial assessed property values of the businesses that sign the document and reside within the proposed boundary.
“We are seeking to create our own marketing district in the greater South Fork area. As noted by the San Luis Resource Group, South Fork is a resort community. We rely on tourism and our accommodations including businesses account for 40 percent of the jobs in South Fork as opposed to 7 percent in the county. Our retail trade makes up 25 percent of our jobs as opposed to 8 percent in the county,” explained Cruse.
Cruse continued to state that, “The Colorado Local Marketing District Act, which is also noted as Colorado Revised Statute 29 (CRS-29), specifies the steps that are necessary to form our proposed district. The purpose of this district is to promote the prosperity and general welfare of our property owners and promote the continued vitality of all of our commercial businesses within the proposed district.”
According to CRS-29, the marketing district committee would also have to have two public hearings before the petition could be certified by the clerk’s office and then be approved by the Rio Grande County Commissioners. The deadline for the public hearings and the petition for signatures is Sept. 4. Hill reached out to the committee after a work session to notify them of the things they needed to do before the county could move forward.
In the July 29 meeting, Cruse addressed the board and stated that they had completed bylaws for a board of directors, an operating plan, a marketing plan and were prepared to set dates for the two public meetings. They would also have the additional signatures in time for the next Rio Grande Commissioner meeting that will take place later this month.
Commissioners expressed concern on whether or not the public hearings needed to be held at the county level or just the Town of South Fork. It was later decided that Rio Grande County Attorney Ryan Dunn would review CRS-29 before making a decision on where the public hearings would be held.
The matter was tabled for the time being in order to give the committee time to complete all the necessary steps before bringing the petition back to the county. Once the petition is certified and meets all necessary requirements, it will be up to the commissioners to approve it for the November ballot.