Highlights of this year’s ballot
GovernorBob Beauprez – RepublicanBill Ritter – Democrat3rd Congressional District(I) John Salazar – DemocratScott Tipton – RepublicanState Rep. District 57(I) Al White – RepublicanAndrew Gold – DemocratState Rep. District 61(I) Kathleen Curry – DemocratUnopposedCounty Commissioners(I) Trési Houpt – DemocratSteve Reynolds – RepublicanCounty Assessor(I) Shannon Hurst – RepublicanJohn Gorman – DemocratCounty Clerk and RecorderJean Alberico – DemocratMarian Clayton – RepublicanCounty Treasurer(I) Georgia Chamberlain – DemocratGala Ivie – RepublicanCounty Surveyor(I) Scott Aibner – RepublicanDavid Nicholson – DemocratCounty Sheriff(I) Lou Vallario – Republican UnopposedCounty Coroner(I) Trey Holt – RepublicanUnopposed
Ballot question 1A: This ballot question asks voters to approve a 1 mill increase in library district property taxes, which would raise $2.5 million annually for renovation and expansion of library buildings. Ballot question 1B: This ballot question asks voters to keep a current one-quarter cent sales tax that Garfield County dedicated to operations of the county libraries. If approved, the library district would continue to use that tax to cover library operations. Ballot question 2A: The city of Rifle is asking voters to be allowed to keep excess revenues generated from the 1-cent sales tax for parks and recreation, which voters passed in the November 2005 election. Because the new tax was implemented in January 2006, officials estimated conservatively that it would bring in about $1.7 million. However, that amount is now nearly $2 million, and under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), voters must allow the city to retain the excess money to use for parks and recreation improvements or the city must issue a refund. Ballot question 2B: Voters will decide if the Rifle city charter should be amended to remove term limits for city council members. A term limit currently restricts the number of terms a person can serve on the council. Ballot question 2C: Should voters approve a 0.2 percent sales tax increase to fund a transportation district, the proceeds would be used, in part, for bus service by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA). Although not currently a member of RFTA, the city of Rifle would collect the taxes and distribute them. The sales and use tax would not be increased by more than $450,000 in the first fiscal year, starting Jan. 1, 2007. Ballot question 2F: Voters will be asked to allow the town of Carbondale to issue up to $1.8 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) to construct and operate two large-scale solar systems. The proposed systems would provide about 250 kilowatts of power. Voting “yes” on 2F will increase the town’s debt, but will not raise local taxes. Revenue from the solar systems will pay off the bonds over the next 20 years. And, under a provision of the 2005 Energy Incentives Tax Act, the interest on the CREBs will be paid by the U.S. government. Ballot question 3A: Garfield County School District Re-2 is asking taxpayers to approve a $1.6 million mill-levy override to be used for the purpose of improving academic achievement by means of hiring more teachers and providing additional funding for increasing fuel and utility costs. Ballot question 3B: The Re-2 school district is asking taxpayers to approve a $74.9 million bond to be used for construction of new schools and upgrades to existing facilities within the district to accommodate the student growth seen throughout the district. Ballot question 3C: Garfield County School District 16 is asking voters to approve a $35 million bond issue to be used for construction of a new middle school and renovations to existing facilities throughout the district to accommodate the student growth seen districtwide.The main point of 3A, 3B and 3C is that, due to TABOR laws, the wording must indicate the need for a tax increase. However, due to increased property tax revenue from the oil and gas industry, these issues won’t require a tax rate increase above current levels. If the issues do not pass, taxpayers would see a slight decrease in taxes.
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