April 25, 2023
(Photo by Crystal Ashike | Tribal Radio )

Durango City Council dissolve Advisory Boards

By Sarah Flower

The last act the departing Durango City Council made was a 4-1 vote to dissolve and consolidate several advisory boards into one.

"Trust is the most important thing the public can give to the city council. There's four women up there who are going to dissolve that trust. I urge the vote to be, no. I urge the four women to let the next city council explore - the decisions that would change Durango forever,"

That is the former Mayor of Durango, Sweetie Marbury, along with 15 other past mayors, sent a letter in March to Durango City counselors, urging them to vote no on dissolving five standing advisory boards to the council.

Those advisory boards include; Parks and Recreation, Multimodal Natural Lands Preservation, Infrastructure and Strategic Long-term Finance. These five boards will now be replaced by one new seven member financial advisory Board. Newly appointed Mayor, Melissa Youssef, voted in favor of the dissolution. She says, the new community engagement strategy created by city staff will be less redundant. And more inclusive.

"We ask them to start with a clean slate. Design a system that allows us to achieve our desired outcomes of a robust and diverse system of public input. Funneling that up through the city council advisory boards to our council and give them what we know about our current system, without repeating it all here, it makes sense to me to adjust, pivot. And try something new."

The loan, NO vote, was given by counselor Olivier Bosmans' for Bosmans'. He says he hasn't heard any support from his constituents in favor of dissolving these advisory boards. And furthermore, he feels the voice of this community would be lost without them.

"I personally, as an active counselor believe that dissolving these board and commissions will negatively impact each counselor. In that I feel we lose a direct connection from our community via boards and commissions to councilors, and it will be more difficult, if not impossible to be as well informed on topics that come to council, we have heard from our community boards and commission members. And even a large number of form remains. All of those overwhelmingly disagree with - dissolving the relevant boards and commissions. This way,"

Overwhelmingly the public comment portion of city council meetings, these last two months has been inundated with community members.

Discouraging, dissolving these advisory boards. This was the last act of the old council before two new counselors were appointed. Voting in favor of dissolving these advisory boards was outgoing, Mayor Barbara Noseworthy, outgoing Counselor Kim Baxter, newly appointed Mayor Youssef, and newly appointed Mayor Pro Tem Jessika Buell.

The boards will be dissolved beginning on July 31st of this year.

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