Guest Columns

Local municipalities go to polls to decide on a variety of issues

GUEST COLUMNIST

Voters in 72 cities and towns went to the polls across the state on Nov. 1 to decide on ballot issues and candidates. Four cities cancelled their regularly scheduled elections: Dacono, Fort Morgan, Las Animas, and Wray. Additionally, four municipalities will hold their elections next Tuesday, Nov. 8: Brighton, Mountain View, Telluride and Vail. The following results have been supplied by the Colorado Municipal League, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1923 representing the interests of 265 cities and towns.


Debt

Several cities asked voters to approve various debt questions:

• Aurora voters rejected the City’s debt be increased to pay $114 million for community recreation centers

• Boulder voters approved the City’s debt be increased up to $49 million for various capital improvements

• Bow Mar voters rejected the Town’s debt be increased up to $3.2 million for street paving

• Cañon City voters defeated a $5.1 million library improvements measure

• Durango voters approved that the City’s debt be increased up to $4 million for a purchase of water shares

Since 1992, 68 percent of municipal debt questions have been approved by voters.

Medical Marijuana

There were proposed taxes on medical marijuana products in five municipalities. Voters in Brush rejected that taxes be increased, while voters in Breckenridge, Commerce City, Frisco, and Palisade approved taxes be increased.

Six cities and towns had questions on the ballot concerning whether or not to allow the sale of the product:

• Brush, Fort Collins, and Yampa voters chose to prohibit medical marijuana centers and other marijuana-infused manufacturers.

• Oak Creek, Palisade, and Steamboat Springs voters approved the operation of medical marijuana businesses.­

Since 2009, voters in 34 of 37 municipalities where elections have been held have voted to prohibit such operations.

Tax increase measures

• In Avon, voters rejected a .35 percent sales tax increase for transit

• Canon City voters rejected a .25 percent sales tax increase for library improvements

• Nucla voters rejected a 1 percent sales tax extension to provide urgent medical care and equipment

• Oak Creek voters rejected a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund costs of salaries, equipment, and operation of the police department

• Fort Lupton voters agreed to extend the .5 percent sales and use tax for street improvements until Dec. 2021

• Voters in Aurora, Bow Mar, and Walsenburg defeated property tax increase measures

Since 1992, voters have approved tax increase or tax extension questions 55 percent of the time.

Lodging or short term rental tax proposals for marketing and tourism promotion occurred in Eagle and Sterling, and voters in both municipalities approved these increases. Brighton voters will determine this in their election next Tuesday.

Voters within the Steamboat Springs local marketing district agreed to raise taxes to support commercial air service at the Hayden airport.

Boulder voters approved an increase in that city’s utility occupation tax.

Other measures

Boulder voters approved the City’s authority to establish a municipal electric system. Colorado has 29 such gas and/or electric systems in the state currently.

In Longmont, voters approved a question allowing citizens to re-establish their city’s right to provide municipal broadband entry.

Pueblo voters awarded an electric franchise to San Isabel Electric.

Fort Lupton voters rejected the question to extend term limits, and voters in Platteville rejected the question to abolish term limits.

Questions to allow cities and towns to publish ordinances or other legal information by title only or on a municipal website were considered in Castle Pines, Lafayette, Lamar, Monte Vista, Oak Creek, and Platteville. (Brighton will consider it during next Tuesday’s election.)

• Castle Pines: approved for title only – complete text of all ordinances will be available through the city offices and on the city’s official website

• Lafayette: approved for title only – full text available in the city clerk’s office and in posting locations established by city council

• Lamar: rejected

• Monte Vista: rejected

• Oak Creek: approved for title only – full copies kept as permanent record in the office of the town clerk and made available at town hall

• Platteville: approved to no longer publish the payment of bills in newspaper of general circulation within the town

Mandatory sick leave on various employers was defeated in Denver, and a corporate personhood measure was approved by Boulder’s voters.

In Castle Pines, voters rejected the question to appoint, rather than elect, the clerk and treasurer.

Lafayette voters approved the establishment of a youth advisory board.

Loveland voters approved a TABOR-related 12-year revenue retention measure.

Englewood voters approved a measure spelling out how certain motor vehicles are to be regulated on private property.

Evans voters agreed to spin off the municipal fire department into a separate fire protection district.

Sam Mamet is the executive director of th Colorado Municipal League, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1923 representing the interests of 265 cities and towns.