Guest Columns

MAMET: ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL

More than 40 municipal elections scheduled

GUEST COLUMNIST

The Colorado Municipal League (CML), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1923 that represents the interests of 265 cities and towns, anticipates that at least 43 cities and towns throughout the state will be holding regular or special elections next month. What follows is a summary of some of them.

Election of candidates 
— Of these cities and towns, 10 municipalities are holding regular elections for candidates: Avon, Central City, Coal Creek, Dacono, Parker, Rico, Snowmass Village, Superior, Ward, and Williamsburg. Hayden and Kiowa have cancelled their regular elections.

CML wants to acknowledge the long-tenured public service of several elected leaders who have either decided not to run again or are termed out: Snowmass Village Councilmember Jon Wilkinson, Parker Mayor Dave Casiano, Parker Councilmember Gary Lasater, and Wheat Ridge Councilmember Wanda Sang, who had previously served the City of Wheat Ridge government as its long-time city clerk.

Financial measures
— Taxes are on 14 municipal ballots: in Aspen (sales tax for the school district); Boulder (five-year excise tax extension for a climate action plan, and 20-year sales tax extension for parks and open space); Calhan (sales tax for street improvements); Firestone (sales tax for parks and streets); Fleming (sales tax for the general fund); Fountain (property tax for a fire station and staffing); Holly (sales tax for the general fund); Lafayette (sales tax extension for open space); Larkspur (property tax for water well improvements); Louisville (sales tax extension for open space); Manitou Springs (property tax increase to join a library district); Nucla (sales tax extension for urgent medical care); Rifle (sales tax increase for a water treatment plant); and Walsenburg (property tax increase for the general fund).

There are debt questions in Aurora ($74 million for transportation-related projects); Erie ($6.2 million for a public safety facility); and Larkspur ($2.9 million for water well improvements).

There are questions to retain excess revenues under TABOR in Castle Pines, Centennial, and Denver.
In the presidential election four years ago, there were seven municipalities with debt questions, and 22 cities and towns had a variety of tax measures.

In Colorado municipal elections since 1992, 87 percent of revenue retention votes have passed; 55 percent of various tax measures have passed; and 68 per-cent of debt issues have been approved.

Miscellaneous measures
— While the legalization of marijuana is on the statewide ballot as Amendment 64 (which CML opposes), there are medical marijuana questions in Fort Collins (to overturn a previous voter-approved ban) and Berthoud (to prohibit).

Longmont has a fracking ban before its voters.

Edgewater has a question to merge its fire department with the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District.

Gas or electric utility franchise elections are before voters in Aspen, Commerce City, Durango, and Longmont.
Nucla is asking voters for permission to post publicly — rather than publish — various bills and contracts.

In Evans and Walsenburg, there are questions around the appointment of clerk and treasurer.

Fort Lupton is asking voters to modify term limits for the offices of mayor and council.

Yampa is posing a question on reducing the number of trustees from six to four, plus the mayor.

Snowmass Village has an advisory question on regulating plastic bags.

Aspen has an advisory question regarding a hydroelectric facility.

Costs
— Election costs range from Denver’s $1.2 million to $600 in Calhan.

Sam Mamet is the executive director of the Colorado Municipal League. You can visit their website at www.cml.org.