Western Slope Roundup: Election Produces Mixed Results

Tax issues were commonplace on the 2007 election ballots across the Western Slope and results were mixed. In some conservative areas, tax measures passed; in more flush resort communities, voters defeated tax proposals.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe Yeas

In Montezuma County, voters okayed the creation of a Montezuma Enforcement Authority and increased property taxes to support the sheriff’s department. The law and order measure will raise about $500,000 a year so the sheriff can give patrol deputies pay increases and hire additional staff. Voter turnout was around 48 percent.

Montrose voters approved a 1 percent sales and use tax that should generate about $7 million in 2008. Funds are designated for road and bridge maintenance and capital improvement projects. Currently, the county has no sales tax.

Moffat County will be getting a new hospital. A price tag of over $40 million didn’t deter the voters in the northwest corner of the state and they also supported an increase of property taxes to raise $30 million for local school projects.

The Alamosa County Fire Protection District will be able to purchase new fire trucks and equipment now that voters approved a mill-levy increase. There was a 57 percent voter turnout.

All three tax increase measures passed in Aspen. Higher use taxes will help pay for the city’s free transit system; a mill-levy increase will support a citywide storm-water management plan; and issuance of bonds was authorized to build a $5.1 million Cattle Creek hydroelectric plant.

The Nays

Ouray County voters turned down a 3 percent use-tax proposal for road maintenance and a $2.5 million capital road-construction bond. Steamboat voters nixed a proposed property tax increase to build and maintain a recreation center.

Gunnison County residents decided against upping the mill levy for their Metro Recreation District and Alamosa County will have to find another way to pay for expanding the jail and beefing up the sheriff’s department, because voters turned down a 1 percent sales tax increase. About 38 percent of Gunnison voters participated in the mail-in ballot.

Citizens in Telluride didn’t support a ballot issue that would have increased the town’s dept by $5 million to pay for street improvements.

Term Limits Upheld

Voters in Mesa and Ouray counties decided to keep term limits for county positions.

A term-limit question wasn’t necessary in the Steamboat Springs city elections — all incumbents on the city council found themselves out of a job after Election Day.