Ballot questions OK’d by City Council
On Monday night City Council approved several ballot initiatives and tweaked several questions as voters should expect new questions and changes to ordinances this September. Among the biggest questions being asked on this year’s ballot is whether or not voters approve of any debt increase in order to see a new pool complex built.
Over the past several months city officials have been refining their plans for a new swimming pool complex in town. To see it built the city will have to pay for it. No new taxes are requested or necessary for the proposed project. The plan is for the city to borrow funds through the Parks and Recreation Fund using the lease-purchase agreement with the Parks and Maintenance Facility at Deerfield Park from 2008. The debt for the facility will be retired in 2018 and the city hopes to then use these funds to repay the new loan for the pool project. Any debt incurred following voter approval will be paid out of existing sales and use tax revenues.
Another issue that will come up on the ballot this year is whether or not Rifle should allow for the retail sale of recreational marijuana. While it is just an advisory question, meaning the voting results will be nonbinding, voters will be asked whether the current five licensed medical marijuana centers should be authorized to be licensed retail and recreational marijuana stores operating within the city. With four seats up on city council this election, including the mayor’s, the new council may be inclined to look into the city’s prohibition of recreational marijuana stores and this vote will help to advise them. On top of that, voters will be asked to approve of a 5 to 15 percent sales tax on final retail and recreational marijuana if the council ever were to license such sales in the city. The city has initially set the tax rate at 5 percent to be consistent with neighboring municipalities.
While several key ones are highlighted above, there will be as many as eight ballot changes this year dealing with everything from a potential marijuana tax to establishing authority for the city to provide telecommunication services.
Others include changes to the city’s sale of property procedure, changes to the council’s change of location policy for meetings, and approval of an annexation agreement.