A recap of municipal election results

The adage “all politics is local” prevailed as 120 Colorado cities and towns held elections earlier this month.

Term limits, sales-tax extensions and sales-tax defeats and pot votes, the Colorado Municipal League has the results:

Broadband
Six municipalities requested and received permission to provide or partner to provide broadband services, including Firestone, Frisco, Lake City, Limon, Lyons, and Severance. This election brings the total of cities and towns who have received voter authorization to 92.

Marijuana
Voters in Naturita passed six separate questions relating to marijuana, voting to allow medical and retail marijuana sales, manufacturing, testing, and cultivation, as well as to implement a sales tax and an excise tax on retail marijuana. Berthoud voters approved allowing municipally licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to add retail sales.

Marijuana taxes passed in Crawford, Delta, Ordway, and Yuma. The lone marijuana tax to fail was in Orchard City.

Term limits
Pagosa Springs voters approved term limits of two consecutive four-year terms, while voters in Glendale approved term limits of three consecutive four-year terms. Lyons voters split the term limit questions, approving an increase to four two-year terms for a mayor, but keeping the limit for trustees at three. Voters in Red Cliff eliminated term limits for their elected officials.

Tax and bond issues
Fruita voters approved the city’s retention of all revenues from 2019 through 2024. Alma, Elizabeth, and Lyons voters passed lodging taxes.

Sales tax questions that passed around the state include:
• Basalt – new sales tax on tobacco and nicotine products
• Cortez – extension of sales tax for family recreation center
• Glendale – modification of current sales tax to remove earmark restricting use to water-related purposes
• Ignacio – new sales tax for capital improvements
• La Veta – extension of current sales taxes for museum expenses and street improvements
• Milliken – extension of sales tax for capital improvements
• Nederland – new sales tax for roads
• Paonia – new sales tax for general operating expenses

The sales tax questions that did not pass include:
• Arriba – for capital improvements
• Crestone – for general operating expenses
• Limon – for capital improvements
• Orchard City – for roads and law enforcement services

Wiley voters approved a mill levy increase, and Carbondale voters approved the extension of a current mill levy, both to fund streets and related improvements. Mill levy increases did not pass in Ault, Orchard City, and Pitkin.
Eckley voters approved $165,000 of debt for sanitation system improvements, Limon voters authorized $8.68 million of debt for capital improvements, and Nederland voters authorized $2 million of debt for wastewater improvements.
Erie’s request for debt authority of $13.75 million for a town hall expansion did not pass.

Publication requirements
Voters approved the publication of ordinances by titles only in Hugo, Kersey, Lake City, Milliken, and Springfield. Pitkin received authorization to no longer publish the bills list or contracts awarded.

Election date
Morrison and Palmer Lake voters approved moving their regular town elections to November of even-numbered years.

Administrative charter amendments
Glendale and Morrison voters approved updates to obsolete provisions of their home rule charter.

Other issues
• Antonito – approved the sale of a public building
• Berthoud – approved a 32.44 acre annexation
• Erie – approved the sale of 0.65 acres of town land
• Frisco – did not approve the sale or lease of a community park for residential use
• Pagosa Springs – approved the elimination of council districts and for council members to be elected at-large

Colorado cities, towns hold elections Tuesday

Greeley Tribune photo.

Aside from all the buzz surrounding the upcoming primary elections, it is important to remember that 120 cities and towns in Colorado are holding elections Tuesday.

Coloradans will be voting on candidates, ballot questions, or both. Issues on the ballots range from various tax questions to providing broadband service, according to the Colorado Municipal League.

“In cities and towns across Colorado voters have the opportunity to make critical decisions about their local area and government,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams said. “We’ve worked with local clerks to make this year’s election more secure than ever by making available information so that signatures can be verified on each and every mail ballot.  We’re proud of this partnership to ensure the integrity of Colorado’s elections.”

Here is an overview of the issues:

Broadband
Colorado statutes require an election to allow a municipality to provide broadband service or partner with the private sector to provide that service, and voters in 86 cities and towns have already said yes. This spring, Firestone, Frisco, Lake City, Limon, Lyons and Severance will ask their voters for authorization to move forward in providing broadband.

Marijuana
In separate questions, Naturita voters will decide whether to allow marijuana sales, manufacturing, testing or cultivation, as well as whether to implement a marijuana sales tax and/or excise tax. Berthoud is asking their voters if municipally licensed medical marijuana dispensaries should be allowed to add retail sales.

Marijuana taxes are being considered in Crawford, Delta, Orchard City, Ordway and Yuma.

Term limits
Pagosa Springs voters will consider whether to impose term limits of two consecutive four-year terms, voters in Glendale will decide if their mayor and council members shall be limited to three consecutive four-year terms, and Lyons voters will be asked if their mayor and trustees should be allowed to serve four consecutive two-year terms. Red Cliff voters will be asked if they would like to eliminate term limits.

Tax and bond issues
Fruita voters will be asked to allow the city to retain all revenues from 2019 through 2024.
Alma, Elizabeth, and Lyons are requesting authorization to implement a lodging tax.
Sales tax questions are on the ballot around the state:
• Arriba, Ignacio, Limon – new tax for capital improvements
• Nederland – new tax for roads
• Orchard City – new tax for roads and law enforcement services
• Crestone, Crook, Paonia – new tax for general operating expenses
• La Veta – extension of taxes for museum expenses and street improvements
• Milliken – extension of tax for capital improvements
• Glendale – modification of sales tax to remove earmark restricting use to water related purposes
• Cortez – extension of tax for family recreation center

Basalt is requesting a tax on the sale of tobacco and nicotine products.

Pitkin and Wiley are requesting a mill levy increase to fund streets and related improvements, while Carbondale is asking to extend a current mill levy for the same purpose. Orchard City is requesting a mill levy increase to be used for both roads and public safety expenses, while Ault’s requested mill levy increase is not earmarked for specific use.

Debt authority is being requested by:
• Eckley – $165,000 for sanitation system improvements
• Erie – $13.75 million for a town hall expansion, with authorization to increase mill levy if necessary for repayment
• Limon – $8.68 million for capital improvements
• Nederland – $2 million for wastewater improvements

Publication requirements
To save money on publication costs, Crook, Hugo, Kersey, Lake City, Milliken, and Springfield are requesting authorization to publish ordinances by title only. Pitkin is requesting authorization to no longer publish the bills list or contracts awarded.

Election date
Morrison and Palmer Lake voters will decide whether to move their regular town elections to November of even-numbered years.

Administrative charter amendments
Glendale and Morrison are asking their voters to eliminate, clarify, or otherwise update obsolete provisions of their home rule charter.

Other issues
Other issues to be decided include:
• Antonito – sale of a public building
• Berthoud – 32.44 acre annexation
• Erie – sale of 0.65 acres of town land
• Frisco – sale or lease of a community park for residential use
• Pagosa Springs – remove council districts and provide for council members to be elected at large