New Castle car tax vote ties, and therefore fails
With the final count tied at 440 to 440, the town of New Castle’s proposed car tax has failed.
The ballot question was proposed by the New Castle Community Revenue Committee, made up of various New Castle community members. It asked for a one-time 3.5 percent use tax collected when New Castle residents purchase a new or used vehicle that requires registration.
Initial counts the night of the Nov. 7 mail ballot election showed the outcome was close, before the final tie vote was counted. That necessitated a recount, which confirmed the tie.
Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico said “a tie vote on a question means the question fails because in order for it to pass it has to pass by at least one vote.”
If approved, the money would have been earmarked for projects that promote public safety; establish a pathway to create a playing field and field house complex; maintain and expand recreation; support community volunteer groups; or market and brand New Castle.
New Castle City Council member Bruce Leland said the vote will put some projects on hold.
“We will ask the citizen group to continue to advise us,” he said. “This would have given us additional funds, but these are things that we will still do.”
Mayor Art Riddile confirmed the town will need to pull back on capital projects and button down on expenditures.
He said street maintenance and some capital projects may need to be put on hold and that New Castle is cutting deficit spending by a third for 2018.
New Castle, whose revenue from natural gas activity has dropped sharply in recent years, is the only Garfield County community that does not already collect a vehicle use tax. It was projected to raise $330,000 annually for the town.