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Turnout likely to be low Tuesday

Scott N. Miller
Preston Utley/Vail DailyIf voters approve a proposed tax increase for the Avon-based Eagle River Fire Protection District, some of the money will be used to hire as many as eight full-time firefighters.
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EAGLE COUNTY ” If it’s May, it must be time for voters to mostly ignore special district elections.

The metro district in Eagle-Vail is holding a board election Tuesday in which 10 people are running for four seats on the board. Ambulance, fire and water districts in Eagle County are also holding board elections Tuesday. The fire districts based in Avon and Eagle are asking voters for more money.

Only a tiny percentage of those eligible are likely vote in those elections.



“We had 170 or so vote in the last election,” said Jon Asper, chief of the Eagle-based Greater Eagle Fire Protection District.

When the Avon-based Eagle River Fire Protection District held its initial election to create the district in 2000, only about 700 voters cast ballots. Only 722 of the thousands of eligible voters came out for the last Eagle County Health Services board election two years ago.



“May elections aren’t as heavily voted as the November elections,” Eagle River Fire Protection District Chief Charlie Moore said. “That’s just the way it is.”

The exception this year may be in Eagle-Vail. About 300 people voted in the last board election two years ago, and more are expected this year.

Outside of the interest in the Eagle-Vail board, the districts holding elections this year have few people besides incumbents seeking jobs. Other districts have cancelled their spring elections because there are no contested board positions.



Here’s a list of the district’s holding elections, who’s running, and, where applicable, how much more tax money they want.

What’s on the ballot? Two seats on the board of directors and a tax increase proposal.

Who’s running?

Michael Gallagher is running unopposed for the board position from Avon, Minturn and Red Cliff. Two candidates, Robert Warner Jr, and John McCaulley, are seeking the board post from the Edwards area. The board seats are like county commissioner or school board jobs, in that people have to live in the area they represent, but people from the entire district vote.

What’s the tax increase? The proposal would add $69.30 per year to the property taxes on a home valued at $500,000.

What would it pay for? Another eight full-time firefighters, fire trucks to replace the oldest vehicles in the fleet ” now approaching 25 years old ” and renovations to the district’s fire stations. That work could include some more living space.

Election day: May 2

Where to vote: Minturn Town Hall, the fire station in Avon, and the ambulance building in Edwards.

What’s on the ballot? Three seats on the board of directors and a tax increase proposal.

Who’s running? Incumbents Tom Ehrenberg, Mikel Kerst, and Robert Silva, and challenger Mike Trujillo.

What’s the tax increase?The proposal would add $82.50 per year to the property taxes on a home valued at $500,000.

What would it pay for? New fire stations at Wolcott, up Brush Creek, and a station shared with Gypsum at the Eagle County Airport.

Election day: May 2

Where to vote: The fire station in Eagle.

What’s on the ballot? Three board seats.

Who’s running? Fred Haslee, Dan Smith, Stan Anderson and incumbent John “JP” Power.

Election day: May 2

Where to vote: The ambulance building in Edwards.

What’s on the ballot? Three seats on the board of directors.

Who’s running? Robert Gary, Michael Balk, Suzanne Hoffman-LeBlanc and Ernie Elsner.

Election day: May 2

How to vote: By mail.

What’s on the ballot? Four seats on the five-member board of directors. Three of those seats have four-year terms. The fourth is a two-year term.

Who’s running?

Incumbents J Halburnt, Gail Crowder and Cindy Gilbert, as well as challengers Tim Parker, John Nichols, Kimberly Williams, Karl Berger and Tom Allender.

Two people, Bruce Mielke and Charlie Penwill, are running for the two-year seat.

Election day: May 2

Where to vote: Eagle-Vail Pavilion.

Gypsum and Red Cliff cancelled their municipal elections last month. Next Tuesday, three of the county’s special districts have also called off their elections. They are:

– Vail Recreation District

– Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District

– Gypsum Fire Protection District

All those elections were called off because there were only as many candidates as board openings.

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14624, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado


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