District 16 opts for mill levy vote recount | PostIndependent.com

District 16 opts for mill levy vote recount

Carrie Click
Post Independent Staff

PARACHUTE ” Tuesday, District 16 School Board members voted to request a recount on the $996,000 tax increase ballot question that failed by just eight votes Nov. 4. The district will pay up to $1,000 for the recount.

“The vote was so close, the school board determined we really need the recount,” said Rose Belden, Garfield County District No. 16’s director of business services, of the eight-vote difference.

Under Colorado state law, any election that has a vote count difference of 0.5 percent of the highest vote count ” or in this case, three votes ” automatically receives a mandatory recount. Because the mill levy vote has a larger vote spread, the school district will have to pay to have the votes recounted.

According to the ballot count, Parachute and Battlement Mesa voters defeated the mill levy override question 630-622.

The ballot question asked voters to approve a $996,000 yearly property tax increase, which was budgeted to provide the Parachute and Battlement Mesa district funding for teacher salaries, lower student-teacher ratios, summer school programming, an in-school police officer, and safety equipment such as hallway surveillance cameras.

Belden said, in order to start the recount process, she sent a letter to Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf Wednesday.

“I have no idea how long it will take,” Alsdorf said Friday, when asked when results would be available. Alsdorf will have to process all 11,000 ballots from the Nov. 4 election.

“We have to run all the ballots through an optical scanner,” she said. “All the ballots are intermingled. We can’t just count one race.”

Alsdorf said initially it took two days to count and canvass all the ballots. She said it will take approximately six hours just to run all the ballots through the scanner.

“The machine is so good that it knocks out any ballot where someone has voted twice or selected more than one choice on a question,” she said.

Belden said the school district is looking forward to receiving the results from the recount.

“This election sends out a loud message to the districts. We need to improve our community relations,” she said of District 16’s close election, and the voters’ sound defeat of neighboring Garfield School District Re-2’s $4 million mill levy override.

“School districts have unique challenges,” Belden added. “Xcel Energy didn’t come ask me if they could raise their rates; they just raised them. But school districts can’t do that. We’re part of government and society. So, what we need to do is better inform people so they understand why public education is asking for these subsidies.”

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518


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