Off-year election season still busy in valley
Still need to vote?
If you still need to vote — it’s too late to mail your ballot — here’s where to pick up or drop off ballots:
• Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s offices in Eagle and Avon.
• Eagle-Vail community offices.
• Vail town hall (county ballots can be dropped there, too).
Those locations will all be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
EAGLE COUNTY — This year’s election season is a light one by just about any standard, but residents may make significant changes to the local school board and the Vail Town Council. Eagle-Vail residents will also decide the fate of a tax-increase proposal.
Most county residents only have one ballot to fill out. But voters in Vail and Eagle-Vail have two ballots to fill out that go to separate places. Here’s a look at what’s on those ballots:
This year’s county ballot includes races and tax questions for the Eagle River and Roaring Fork valleys, as well as a contested seat on the West Grand School District. Residents in the Vail Valley only need to vote for one state ballot question, Eagle County Schools candidates and one contested race for the Colorado Mountain College board of trustees. Avon voters will find a town-specific ballot question.
• The state question, Proposition BB, asks voters if the state can keep and spend revenue from the retail sale of marijuana. The proposition was needed because tax collections from those sales have far exceeded the revenue estimates in 2012’s Amendment 64, which legalized the use and sale of recreational marijuana in Colorado.
If approved, the money will be used for school construction, law enforcement, youth programs and marijuana education programs. If voters reject the question, the money will have to be refunded to taxpayers.
• While there are four seats on the Colorado Mountain College board up for election this year, only one seat is contested. It is for the Garfield County district. That seat is being sought by Kathy Goudy and Jon Warnick.
While trustees are elected from specific districts, voters throughout the college’s nine-county district (Eagle, Grand, Jackson, Lake, Garfield, Pitkin, Summit, Chaffee and Routt) vote for all board members.
• Similarly, members of the seven-member local school board run from specific districts, but are elected by all district voters.
This year, for the first time in recent memory, all of the four seats up for election have at least two candidates running.
The school board election has also been roiled by questions about student diversity at the district-sponsored Eagle County Charter Academy, as well as a slate of candidates backed by the district’s teachers, a group called Three Ks and a Battle.
In the Eagle-Vail district, Ryan Geller is running against incumbent Tessa Kirchner, a member of the teacher-backed slate.
In the Edwards district, another member of the slate, Carolyn Knox Keep, is running against Mary Cotton, the current president of the charter academy’s board.
In the Gypsum district, retired teacher Kevin Kottenstette is the third “K” in the slate. That district is a three-way contest including Robinette Hoppin and incumbent Carrie Larson.
In the Eagle district, incumbent Felicia Battle is being challenged by fellow Eagle resident and Avon Police Chief Robert Ticer.
• The Avon-only portion of the county ballot asks voters for permission for the town to sell a 3,000-square-foot parcel of town-owned land adjacent to The Seasons at Avon building. The building’s owner has asked to buy the property as part of an extensive renovation project planned for the structure.
Vail’s town charter awards a two-year council term to the fourth-place finisher in elections that are held every two years. The top three finishers earn four-year terms. That allows town voters to potentially elect a new council majority every two years.
This year, only one incumbent — Ludwig Kurz — is running for re-election. Mayor Andy Daly and council member Margaret Rogers have each served two consecutive four-year terms and are ineligible to run for a third consecutive term. Dale Bugby, who earned a two-year term in the 2013 election, decided not to seek re-election.
Besides Kurz, the other council candidates this year are Kim Langmaid, Dick Cleveland, Doe Browning, Mark Christie, Jen Mason and Kevin Foley.
Kurz, Foley and Cleveland have all served before on the council. Kurz and Cleveland are former mayors.
Vail has again bucked the trend toward mail-in or drop-off ballots in favor of a polling-place election (accepting absentee ballots by mail, of course). The polling place this year, as usual, is Town Hall. Voting is between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
While Eagle-Vail is a relatively small community, a proposal for a nearly $10.9 million bond issue has generated vigorous opposition.
If voters approve, the money will be used for several projects, but the biggest is the construction of a new golf course clubhouse on the valley floor, near the existing community pavilion and swimming pool. Money would also be used for improvements to small parks throughout the community, replacing the existing tennis courts and adding pickleball courts. Bond money would also be used for an extension of the Eagle-Vail Trail to Meadow Mountain.
Backers say the spending is needed to upgrade the community’s aging facilities — the golf course clubhouse was built in the 1970s.
Ballot measure opponents say the bond issue represents too much of a tax increase for property owners and have questioned the costs of either upgrading or replacing the clubhouse. Taking on that level of debt could also prevent the Eagle-Vail Metropolitan District from issuing debt for more critical community needs.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottnmiller.