Spring elections shaping up in Garfield County
Four municipalities in Garfield County will hold elections this spring, and early indications point toward a healthy number of candidates running for the numerous seats.
The deadline for filing a petition with the necessary number of signatures was this past Monday. Those wanting to file as a write-in candidate have until the end of the day Monday, Feb. 1, to submit the necessary paperwork with their municipal clerk.
No town in Garfield County has the potential to see as many new faces on its governing board after the April 5 election as Parachute. Every position on the town’s seven-member board is potentially up for election due to the simultaneous occurrence of the regular scheduled election and a recall election centered on the board vote to repeal a ban on marijuana businesses.
Mayor Roy McClung and Trustees Tim Olk and Tom Rugaard are facing a recall. Possible opponents have until Feb. 19 to submit the necessary paperwork, said Denise Chiaretta, town clerk.
Mayor Pro-Tem Juanita Williams and Trustees John Loschke, who has nearly 30 years experience in Parachute town government, and Travis Sproles, who was appointed to a vacant seat in late 2015, also submitted petitions.
Trustee Daniel Manzanares, who also was appointed to a vacant seat in 2015, decided not to run for re-election.
Pam Jarrett, a Parachute resident who has spearheaded much of the opposition to the town’s decision to permit the sale of recreational marijuana, also submitted paperwork, but she failed to file a candidate affidavit with her signatures, according to Chiaretta. Fred Anderson, another Parachute resident, filed paperwork but fell short of the necessary number of signatures. He intends to correct the issue, Chiaretta said.
Candidates have until the end of the day Friday to amend or correct their nominating petitions.
In Silt, four candidates filed the necessary paperwork to run for the three available seats, including incumbents Keith Richel and T.J. Tucker.
Trustee Sonny Fernandez did not file to run for re-election. Richel was elected in 2012, while Tucker was appointed to his position in late September last year.
Former Trustee Paul Taylor, who lost his election bid in 2014, and Dina Prieto both applied for the vacant position filled by Tucker in 2015. Taylor and Prieto were the other two candidates to file petitions for the spring election.
In New Castle, Councilors Mary Metzger, Patrick Stuckey and Merle Means are all up for election. All three submitted petitions to run for re-election.
New Castle residents Grady Hazelton, who owns WingNutz Bar & Grill in Rifle, and Graham Riddile, who currently serves on the town’s planning and zoning commission, also submitted petitions to run for the three council seats up for election.
Eight people are running for three open seats on Carbondale’s Board of Trustees. Allyn Harvey is the only incumbent running.
Pam Zentmyer’s and John Hoffmann’s trustee seats are also open, but they are term-limited. Also running are Ben Bohmfalk, Michael Durant, Wayne Horak, Doc Philip, Dan Richardson, Marty Silverstein and Patricia Warman.
Carbondale’s trustees do not represent particular precincts of the town, so each voter can vote for up to three candidates.
Carbondale’s April ballots will also have two questions to raise taxes. The first question is for a carbon tax, in which the town would charge residents and businesses extra for using electricity and natural gas.
The Carbondale 2020 coalition proposing the carbon tax has estimated that the average homeowner would see a $7 increase in their utility bills. And while the effect on businesses will probably be more variable, they estimated that commercial users would see a $30 increase.
The “climate action excise tax” would go into effect in July and be set to sunset about six years later.
The second ballot question would increase property taxes by up to 3 mills to fund town capital projects, including infrastructure such as streets, sidewalks, bike and pedestrian paths and parking. Town staff projects that the additional tax would bring in about $425,000 annually.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.