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Black Forest/Falcon vying for independence

The boundaries drawn, the budget calculated, the signatures gathered. Now, the Black Forest Incorporation Committee awaits a decision from a district court judge concerning the forward progress of the incorporation issue.Within 10 days after receiving the petition, the district court must garner a decision denying or allowing Black Forest residents to vote on incorporation. If the petition is approved, an election committee will be formed, and an election would be held in March.Eddie Bracken, Black Forest Incorporation Committee chairman, said the group has been working on the incorporation issue since September 2005. The BFIC hopes to become a home-rule charter city that will control zoning and development in Black Forest.ìWe want to control the future destiny of Black Forest, and keep it rural,î he said.ìWeíre not interested in commercial development.îIf Black Forest residents vote to incorporate, two more elections will be held, which will help determine the future of neighbors to the northwest. The second election will be held by the end of May to elect the board of trustees, and a third election in November will decide the issue of a tax increase for the new city.Bracken said the petition process needed to be handled carefully. Three public sessions were held to gather signatures for the petition, and more than the required 320 signatures were acquired.Falcon is following a similar path. The Falcon Incorporation Committee is currently in the process of gathering signatures for a petition to present to the district court. As the FIC forges ahead, Brackenís advice is to ìprepare for a long haul and understand itís an expensive process.îThomas Cline, FIC chairperson, can relate to the waiting game. îItís been kind of slow,î he said. Cline said the FIC has until April to acquire signatures for the petition to be submitted to the district court.Bracken said, ìWe made sure every ëií was dotted and every ëtí was crossed by following state statutes.î The committee hired a lawyer who was involved with the Centennial, Colo., incorporation process. An engineering firm was hired to legally describe the boundaries and develop a map.At least $50,000 was needed to get documentation in order and to hire a lawyer to help with the process. The money was raised through personal contributions. ìItís not cheap, and itís not quick,î Bracken said.He said throughout the process public meetings have been held to discuss the budget, boundaries and potential services Black Forest would establish. Before the March election, the BFIC will campaign to further educate the Black Forest community about incorporation and receive input from residents. Bracken said additional public meetings, distribution of flyers, and phone calls to residents will be part of the campaign.ìThe biggest obstacles are time and keeping people motivated,î Bracken said of the process. As the possibility of an election draws near, he added, ìWe can see the light at the end of the tunnel.î

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