Whalen leads in spending race as voters head to polls today | PostIndependent.com

Whalen leads in spending race as voters head to polls today

Lynn BurtonPost Independent Staff

Mark Whalen’s supporters have spent more than twice as much as his two opponents combined in the Carbondale Board of Trustees race.Carbondale residents cast ballots in a special election today to elect Whalen, Ed Cortez or Patrick Griffin to the board. The winner will serve an 11-month term to fill the vacancy created when former trustee David Rippe resigned in February.Residents will also vote on whether to approve a proposed home rule charter.The Committee for Economic Sensibility, formed for last year’s trustee election, spent $2,050 on advertising and related expenses to try to get Whalen elected, according to campaign reports filed at Carbondale Town Hall.The Committee to Elect Ed Cortez spent $818, while the Patrick Griffin Campaign Fund has spent $664.Whalen is a former trustee who lost his seat in last April’s election. Cortez is a Carbondale Planning and Zoning Committee member. Griffin is a political newcomer whose only prior political experience was serving on the railroad corridor citizens advisory committee in the late 1990s.Whalen has said he supports the trustees’ approval of the 252,000-square-foot Crystal River Marketplace on Highway 133, while Cortez and Griffin have said they oppose it.Later this year, a citizens’ referendum petition will ask the trustees to overturn the Crystal River Marketplace approval, or put it to a vote of the people.Home Rule CharterThe proposed home rule charter covers 14 pages, and is available at Town Hall. The nine-member home rule charter commission, which drafted the document, said it did not want to make any radical changes in town governance. The trustees or voters will be able to amend the new charter in the future.The home rule charter does change some town ordinances, including:-Creation of an instant run-off mechanism in mayoral races with three or more candidates, ensuring the winner is elected by a majority of voters.-A provision to remove a trustee from the board who has three consecutive, unexcused meeting absences.-Giving the town condemnation rights outside municipal limits.Home rule towns and cities in Colorado have more flexibility than statutory towns and cities when it comes to taxing. For example, Carbondale could impose a bed tax on motels and other lodging facilities if it becomes a home rule town. Statutory towns are not allowed such a tax.If approved, the home rule charter would go into effect in July. If rejected, the town must reconvene the charter commission to draft a new charter, and hold another election. If the second home rule charter fails, the town must wait two years to try again.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534lburton@postindependent.comWhen and where to voteCarbondale residents can vote for a new trustee and on a home rule charter today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:-Precinct 1 – Carbondale Firehouse, 300 Meadowood Drive-Precinct 2 – River Valley Ranch sales center, 333 River Valley Ranch Drive-Precinct 3 – Carbondale Town Hall, 511 Colorado Ave.

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