GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Only 21 percent of ballots had been returned Tuesday with less than a week before the April 2 Glenwood Springs municipal election, City Clerk Robin Unsworth said.
A total of 4,425 ballots were mailed out to registered city voters earlier this month, of which 950 had been returned as of late afternoon Tuesday, she said.
Any voters intending to mail in their completed ballots should do so by today in order for them to be delivered to City Hall by April 2, Unsworth said.
Otherwise, ballots can be dropped off at City Hall, 101 W. Eighth St., up until 7 p.m. on election day, she said.
City voters are asked to decide the lone contested race for an at-large Glenwood Springs City Council seat, between incumbent Stephen Bershenyi, who is seeking a second term, and challenger Lyle Beattie.
Also on the ballot is a single question, asking voter permission for the city to sell two parcels of land near the corner of Seventh Street and Colorado Avenue.
Garfield County has expressed interest in buying the parcels to combine with adjacent county-owned land for expanded parking.
Initially, the county is looking at a larger surface parking lot in the area, and is working on plans to eventually build a multi-level public parking structure.
Voter approval would give the city permission to begin negotiating with the county, or any other potential buyers who may be interested. It does not commit the city to sell the land, however.
Turnout in the election is so far quite a bit less than the 2011 city election, in which 46 percent of eligible voters participated. Of the 737 ballots distributed in the Ward 1 race between Russ Arensman and Ted Edmonds that year, 336 voters cast ballots, Unsworth said. Edmonds ended up winning by a narrow margin over Arensman, the incumbent in that race.
In this year's election, Bershenyi is seeking a second four-year term against Beattie, a former Glenwood Springs mayor and council member in the 1960s.
Bershenyi, 65, is a Glenwood Springs native and local blacksmith and school bus driver. He made an unsuccessful bid for Garfield County commissioner in 2008 before running uncontested for his at-large City Council seat in April 2009.
Beattie, 89, moved to Glenwood Springs from Boulder in 1953 and was co-owner of L-P Gas and Appliance Co. with his late brother, Hal, until they retired in the mid-1990s. Lyle Beattie returned to Glenwood Springs last year after 16 years in Arizona.