Municipal elections focus on local control, public investments

Tuesday’s elections throughout the state of Colorado featured a potpourri of questions for municipal voters. None were more prevalent than medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana
Of the 27 cities and towns statewide with questions on whether to allow or to prohibit marijuana retail outlets, only voters in Fraser and Minturn approved retail outlets. Paonia voters not only rejected retail outlets, but grow operations in town as well. Voters in the following municipalities rejected retail outlets: Akron, Aurora, Broomfield, Castle Pines North, De Beque, Dinosaur, Elizabeth, Federal Heights, Fountain, Granby, Hillrose, Hot Sulphur Springs, Jamestown, La Junta, Lake City, Lone Tree, Loveland, Olathe, Otis, Ouray, Paonia, Ramah, Sugar City, and Windsor.

New state law enacted earlier this year allows for local control through these elections.
Every municipal medical marijuana tax measure on the ballot was approved: De Beque, Fraser, Fruita (in April, the first in the state), Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs, Mountain View, Paonia, Pueblo, and Sugar City.
Other taxes
As has been a consistent pattern, even in the down economy municipal voters this election cycle continued to say “yes” more than “no” on tax increase and tax policy issues.

Eight communities had ballot issues related to lodging taxes for marketing and tourism promotion. They were approved in Aspen, Blue River, Boulder, and Breckenridge; they were rejected in Craig, Cripple Creek, Fountain, and Windsor.

Sales tax increases for various capital improvements were rejected in Blue River, Greeley, Limon, and Milliken; however, an increase was approved in Fort Collins. Greeley voters approved continuing an expiring food sales tax. Voters in Northglenn and Pueblo approved extending local sales taxes set to expire for water and sewer and economic development respectively.
Use taxes were rejected in Blue River and Minturn, but approved in Louisville.

Property tax increases were approved for streets in Carbondale, as well as for transportation and open space in Snowmass Village, but rejected for police protection in Mountain View.
Boulder voters approved a utility occupation tax to replace an expiring Xcel franchise.
Black Hawk voters approved a square-footage business tax.
Only one debt question appeared throughout the state. Pueblo voters approved a $10 million restoration of Memorial Hall using sales tax vendor fees.
Revenue retention votes, otherwise known as de-Brucings, were approved in Colorado Springs and Fountain.

Aspen will no longer have instant runoff elections in a question that was approved.
Hot Sulphur Springs and Jamestown join a number of other smaller communities where voters approved publication of ordinances by title only to save money, while Mead voters rejected such a question. Aspen voters approved a charter change to allow ordinances to be published on the City’s website.
Voters in Colorado Springs approved a measure to switch from a council-manager system of government to a strong mayor form, while voters in Wheat Ridge rejected a similar change. Idaho Springs will continue to elect rather than appoint its city clerk.

The urban renewal authority will be abolished in Castle Pines North. Also, Castle Pines North voters approved dropping “North” from its name and will now be Castle Pines.

Lakewood voters rejected a question dealing with impounding cars driven by unlicensed drivers.

Boulder’s height restriction policy was modified by voters to allow for certain rooftop renewable energy devices.

Denver’s voters rejected the formation of an extraterrestrial affairs commission.
Editor’s Note: The information above was provided by Colorado Municipal League, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1923. CML represents the interests of 264 cities and towns.


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