Voters re-elect incumbents to Carbondale, Rifle fire district boards
Three special taxing districts in Garfield County – the Carbondale and Rifle fire districts and the Battlement Mesa Metropolitan District – elected board members in polling on Tuesday.Several other districts, including the Grand River Hospital District and fire districts serving the rural Glenwood Springs area, New Castle, Silt and Parachute, canceled their elections due to a lack of board contests.Carbondale & Rural Fire District. Attorney Bob Emerson and HP Geotech partner Louis Eller, both board incumbents, won re-election Tuesday to the two open seats on the five-member board.Emerson garnered 840 votes, followed by Eller with 601. Challenger Kathy Wright Ortiz, a caterer, garnered 527 votes.According to Jenny Cutright, the district’s designated election officer, 6,619 ballots were mailed out to qualified electors, and 1,085 ballots were returned, for a 16 percent turnout.The district takes in Spring Valley, Cattle Creek and the Crystal River to Marble in the south, encompassing 320 square miles and about 15,000 residents, according to the district’s website, http://www.carbondalefire.org.Rifle Fire Protection District. Voters re-elected all three incumbents running for the three open seats on the board, and rejected one challenger by a seven-vote margin.Winning new four-year terms were Yvonne Long with 52 votes, John Sandquist with 48 votes, and Rex Rhule with 39 votes.Former board member Lee Martens, who was seeking to return to the board after being term-limited in 2010, collected 32 votes, and was unsuccessful in his bid.The election brought a turnout of 69 voters, less than 1 percent of the estimated 7,400 eligible voters in the district, which serves the Rifle city limits and the surrounding rural area.”It’s always a relatively small turnout,” said Connie Guerette, the fire district’s administrative division chief and designated election official.The fire district board will hold its next regular meeting on May 16, when the re-elected board members will be sworn in and new officers will be elected.Battlement Mesa Metro District. In a six-way race for two open seats, incumbent Lynn Shore and board newcomer Jason Fletcher were the top vote-getters, according to the district’s accounting manager, Sandy Yeager.The vote counts were Fletcher with 234 votes and Shore with 191.Of the four unsuccessful challengers, Bob Arrington got 179 votes, Bill Nelson got 160, Bill Wilde got 139 and Leeray Smith got 87.Yeager said of the 1,674 ballots mailed out, 527 were returned for a voter turnout of 31 percent – by far the best turnout of the three special district elections.The metro district provides water and sewer services to residents in the unincorporated Battlement Mesa community, located south of Parachute.The board’s next regular meeting will be Thursday, May 24.
The Glenwood Springs Rural, Burning Mountains and Grand Valley fire districts and the Grand River Hospital District canceled their elections for this year as candidates faced no challenge.Glenwood Springs & Rural Fire District. Gordon Daniels will be appointed to one of the three open seats on the five-member board. He replaces Thomas Morelli, who is leaving the board due to term limits.Two seats remain unfilled. For information about the openings, call 384-6480. Burning Mountains Fire District. Incumbents Karen Maddalone-Cochran and Megan Richards were re-elected to the board along with new member Bucky Moser.Grand Valley Fire District. Incumbents Keith Lammey and Kevin Whelan were re-elected to the board, leaving one vacancy. For information about the opening, call 285-9119 prior to the next board meeting, set for May 16.Grand River Hospital District. Six candidates ran for six open seats on the seven-member board. Returning to the board will be Kip Costanzo, Marcia Kent, Ed Weiss, Sharon Raggio and Cindy George, along with new board member Tami Sours, who replaces Sam Potter.- Reporters John Colson and John Stroud contributed to this report.
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