Tax questions, races fill election ballot
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Garfield County voters will decide on tax increases, school board candidates and statewide water, property tax and gambling issues in the Nov. 4 election.
Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf released a draft of the Nov. 4 ballot on Friday.
The ballot includes three statewide questions, a lodging tax for Carbondale, a competitive bidding question for Glenwood Springs, tax increases for the Garfield County Re-2 and No. 16 school districts, and de-Brucing for the Colorado River Water Conservation District.
It also includes competitive races among candidates for Glenwood Springs City Council, school board members from Basalt to Rifle, and trustees for Colorado Mountain College.
(See accompanying story, page 6, on school board candidates.)
Carbondale, Question 2A
Carbondale voters will decide whether to adopt a 2 percent lodging tax.
Money collected from the tax, estimated to hit $50,000 to $75,000 a year, would be used to promote, develop and market tourism in Carbondale. It would likely be administered by the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber has given the town board an in-depth plan for marketing, which is now under review, said Carbondale town manager John Hier.
The proposal is possible because Carbondale is now a home rule town.
Glenwood Springs, Question 2B
Voters in Glenwood Springs will vote on whether the city must allow for competitive bidding.
The ballot question would force the city to allow time for competitive bids when it plans to purchase an item for more than $25,000.
The city would not have to collect bids when purchasing an item from a state or federal agency, during an emergency, or when City Council determines there is only one source for the item.
The city would not necessarily have to purchase from the most competitive bidder. The ballot question allows the city to purchase an item at a higher price if it could be an advantage for the city to do so.
Colorado River Water Conservation District, Question 4A
The Glenwood Springs-based River District, which protects the water interests of 15 Western Slope counties, is seeking an exemption from the revenue-collecting limitations of Amendment 1, the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights.
The question essentially freezes the district’s mill levy at 0.250 mills, said River District spokesman Chris Treese.
But the district would be able to retain all tax revenues if increasing property values in the district result in revenues that top the current state limits of inflation or 5.5 percent.
The district doesn’t expect to see any revenue gains from the ballot question until 2006, and expects to use the added funds for selenium control projects in the Colorado and Gunnison basins and for purchasing water from the federally owned Blue Mesa and Ruedi reservoirs.
Re-2 mill levy override
Voters living in the boundaries of the Garfield School District Re-2 will vote whether to approve a proposed mill levy override. If passed, it would raise $4 million a year.
The money would fund staffing for the new Coal Ridge High School in Peach Valley, competitive salaries for all staff, full-day everyday kindergarten, before- and after-school programs, school resource officers, and technology and transportation upgrades.
According to superintendent Gary Pack, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay an additional $34 a year in property taxes as a result of the override. Commercial property owners take on more of the tax burden, since their rates are close to three times the amount of that taxed on a residential home.
District 16 mill levy override
Garfield School District No. 16 school board members voted last week to approve putting the district’s first mill levy override question on the November ballot.
If the override is approved, it will provide $996,000 a year in property tax revenues to the district.
The money will provide funds for starting summer school programs, reducing class size, creating competitive and comparable salaries, increasing additional technology and training for students and staff, maintaining buildings, installing security systems and employing a districtwide resource and truancy officer.
The tax increase is estimated to cost the owner of a $100,000 house $54.23 year, according to school district spokeswoman Sandy Hanson.
Referendum A asks voters if the state debt should be increased $2 billion to help with drought relief. The referendum directs the Colorado Water Conservation Board to recommend at least two water infrastructure projects in at least two different river basins that can start by 2005. Gov. Bill Owens would be required to approve at least one of the projects.
Amendment 32 asks voters if the Colorado’s constitution should be amended to set the residential property tax at 8 percent. Currently residential property taxes are adjusted annually to insure state revenue from the tax is at least equal to what it was the previous year, and have fallen between 9 and 10 percent.
Amendment 33 asks voter if the state’s constitution should be amended to allow video lottery terminals at designated racetracks and some gaming establishments. Proceeds from the video terminals would go to Great Outdoors Colorado and the Colorado Tourism Board.
Ballots will be mailed to all active voters in Garfield County by Oct. 15, and must be returned to the county clerk’s Glenwood Springs or Rifle office by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Mail-in ballots may be used in Garfield County for non-partisan elections, said Alsdorf.
Voters are considered active if they voted in the last election, said Alsdorf.
If people have moved or will be out of town and not receive a ballot, they need to contact the county clerk.
Citizens who are not registered to vote have until Monday, Oct. 6, to register.
– Staff writers Ryan Graff, Carrie Click and Heather McGregor contributed to this report.
Here are the candidates and ballot questions facing Garfield County voters in the Nov. 4 election:
Referendum A: $2 billion for state water projects
Amendment 32: Residential property tax rate
Amendment 33: Racetrack video gambling
City of Glenwood Springs
Chris McGovern (write-in)
Don “Hooner” Gillespie
Question 2B: Competitive bidding
Town of Carbondale
Question 2A: Lodging tax
Colorado River Water
Question 4A: Exemption from Amendment 1 (TABOR)
Roaring Fork School
Rio W. Jacober
Bruce E. Wampler
Richard L. Chavez
Robert L. Arrington
Kenneth Melby II
Peter P. Delany
Question 3B: Mill levy override
At Large (2 seats)
Ronald A. Palmer
Jody T. Williams
Question 3C: tax increase
Eagle County School District Re-50J
Andrew W. Arnold
Mary Ann Stavney
Question 3A: Building and technology mill levy
Colorado Mountain College
Thomas Q. Boas
John C. Patillo
Richard C. Bateman
Robert S. Dick
Helen Ginandes Weiss
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