Close up of books on desk in library.

Commissioners’ duties relative to the Garfield County Public Library District

Community interest in library policy is directed to the library district board

September 11, 2023

Garfield County Commissioners have limited oversight or authority administered by Colorado law in relation to political subdivisions, such as the Garfield County Public Library District. When a taxing entity district is formed within the county borders, commissioners have two basic roles – review of the entities’ annual budget and approval of appointment of board members.

State law determines the process of how districts, such as the library district, are formed, how board members are selected, and their ability to levy taxes of those same citizens to support the operations of the district. These districts operate and make decisions autonomously and are not connected to county commissioners in any way beyond the two specific authorities mentioned above; that is to review the district’s budget (not an approval role) and to appoint board members. A specific limitation of note is that county commissioners do not have the authority to remove members of such boards. In this case, that would take a majority vote by the library board.

To learn more, consider this list of special districts on the Garfield County Assessor’s website taxing entities page. Also, a good resource to review of the duties of the office of county commissioner is on the Colorado Counties Inc. Office of County Commissioner page. For questions or policymaking of special districts in Colorado, a good resource for obtaining more information is the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Special Districts page.

Frequently, community members ask the county commissioners to administer decisions relating to matters of a special district or taxing entity, but the authority lies with the boards appointed by the special districts, and not the county commissioners.