Eagle County voters still have time to cast ballots
Drop boxes, voter centers open until 7 p.m. on Nov. 2
There’s still time to vote in this year’s election, but the clock is ticking.
It’s too late to mail in a ballot, but voters have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to return ballots to one of Eagle County’s seven 24/7 drop boxes or one of the county’s voter service centers in Vail, Avon or Eagle, or at the service center in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Several ballot types were sent out Oct. 8. Here’s a look at what voters in the Eagle River portion of the county will decide.
Voters in Vail for the first time are participating in the county’s coordinated mail ballot, forsaking traditional polling place voting.
Vail voters this year will decide the fate of a proposed .5% sales tax increase. If approved, the increase — estimated at roughly $4 million in its first year — would be dedicated to housing projects and initiatives.
Voters in town will also choose four Town Council members from among 10 candidates. Only two incumbents — Brian Stockmar and Travis Coggin — are seeking reelection. Two others — Jenn Bruno and Mayor Dave Chapin — can’t seek reelection due to term limit restrictions. The other candidates on the ballot are: Barry Davis, Jermaine A. Wates, Kathryn Middleton, Kirk Hansen, Jonathan Staufer, Pete Seibert Jr., Niko Sayag and Kim Newbury Rediker.
The top three finishers in the contest will serve four-year terms. The person who finishes fourth will serve a two-year term.
Voters are being asked to recall Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes and Council member Tamra Nottingham Underwood.
The town is also asking voters to impose a 2% short-term housing tax. If approved, the tax is expected to generate $1.5 million in its first year for housing projects and initiatives.
Eagle has nine people running for four seats this year. Three of those seats are for two-year terms, with one seat being a four-year term.
Appointed incumbent Janet Bartnik joins six other candidates running for two-year terms.
Incumbent Geoff Grimmer and Weston Gleiss are running for the four-year seat.
Some Eagle voters — those who live in the designated downtown development area — are being asked to fund $27 million in downtown development. If voters agree, the Eagle Downtown Development Authority would issue bonds, which would be repaid via “tax increment” financing. That method allows the entirety of the increased property taxes paid by new development to be collected by the authority.
The Eagle County Commissioners this year decided — again — to ask voters for at least some relief from the state’s term-limit law. That state constitutional amendment limits office holders to just a pair of four-year terms. Voters can override that requirement, but county voters have three times in the past kept the commissioners at just two terms.
In this case, voters are being asked to grant the commissioners one more four-year term over the current two-term limit. Voters several years ago lifted all term limits from other county elected offices including treasurer, surveyor and sheriff.
Mountain Recreation provides recreation facilities and programs from Edwards to Dotsero. The district is asking voters for a property tax increase to fund $60 million worth of program and facility improvements at the district’s recreation centers in Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum.
Eagle County Schools
The school district in the Eagle River Valley portion of the county also has a crowded ballot, with 11 candidates seeking five positions on the local school board. The candidates include two incumbents — Kelly Alter and Michelle Stecher. Two other incumbents, Kate Cocchiarella and Shelly Jarnot, are term-limited and can’t seek another consecutive term. Board member Fernando Almanza chose not to seek another term.
Candidates run in specific districts, but, like the Eagle County Commissioners, all voters select candidates for those districts. The candidates on this year’s ballot outside of the two incumbents are: Andrew Keiser, Lelia Conlin, Kyla Sink, Heather Bergquist, Juan Peña, Dan Reynolds and Susan Cunningham. Maribel Avila and Bridget Russell are running as a write-in candidates.
Odd-year elections are reserved for financial questions on the state ballot. There are three of those questions this year.
Amendment 78 would change state law regarding money the state received from federal and other sources. That money can now be spent by individual state departments as it’s received. The amendment would funnel that money to the Colorado Legislature, which would be required to hold public hearings on use of those funds. The legislature would establish a new committee to oversee the use of that money.
Proposition 119 would increase the state’s sales tax on recreational marijuana sales. The money would then be used to create a program to fund “out of school learning opportunities for Colorado children aged 5 to 17.”
Proposition 120 changes state law to reduce the property tax assessment rate on multi-family residential property. It would also reduce the assessment rate on other property except producing mines and leaseholds producing oil or gas.