Vail, Eagle County voters still have time to cast ballots
Vail holding its own election, but all ballots are due in ballot boxes or drop boxes by 7 p.m. Tuesday
EAGLE COUNTY — If you live in Vail, you can vote twice on Election Day, and it’s all perfectly legal.
The town of Vail is holding an election for four seats on the Vail Town Council. The town is also asking voters to impose a tobacco tax.
Voters will choose council members and answer the tax question at Vail’s Town Hall. Town officials have long resisted going to a mail ballot or coordinating with Eagle County.
That’s how voters are able to vote twice. Those who are casting ballots in the county’s coordinated election can drop them off in person at the Grand View Room atop the Lionshead Village parking structure. Election judges will be on hand until 7 p.m.
In Vail, voters will choose four of seven council candidates: Incumbents Kevin Foley, Kim Langmaid and Jen Mason; and new council candidates Barry Davis, Karen Perez, Pete Seibert and Brian Stockmar.
The top three finishers will be elected to four-year terms. The person with the fourth-most votes will serve a two-year term.
Vail voters will also decide whether the town will impose a tax on tobacco and nicotine products.
If approved, the tax would add $3 to every pack of cigarettes and 40% to the price of other tobacco products. The money — estimated at as much as $1 million in the first year — would go into the town’s general fund.
Stop-smoking products including gum and patches are exempt from the tax.
Eagle County ballot
Eagle County is also asking voters for a new tobacco tax — Ballot Issue 1A. If passed, that tax would impose a $4 per pack tax on cigarettes, with a 40% tax on other products.
In addition to the tobacco tax, voters in the Eagle Valley Library District — essentially the Eagle River Valley except for Vail — are being asked to maintain current residential property tax collections.
In the case of the county question, funds from the tax would be used for education to reduce teen vaping, enforcement of the county’s recent increase in the age to purchase tobacco — from 18 to 21 — and “services that protect and improve public health such as substance abuse and other services.”
The Eagle County Health Service District and the Eagle Valley Library District are asking voters to essentially maintain their current property tax collections.
Both of those questions are in response to the requirements of the 1982 Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado Constitution. That amendment sets the state’s property tax ratio between residential and non-residential property at 45% and 55%, respectively. That amendment can reduce property tax collections in rural areas that have far more residential than non-residential property.
The other valleywide questions are for one contested seat on the Eagle County Schools Board of Education and two seats on the Colorado Mountain College board of trustees.
Voters are also being asked to include the Salida School District in Colorado Mountain College’s multi-county service area.
There are only two statewide questions this year. Proposition CC asks voters to exempt state tax collections from constitutional revenue limits to fund education and transportation. Proposition DD would authorize sports betting at the state’s casinos. The proceeds would be used to help fund the state’s new water plan.
Odd-year elections generally don’t have the turnout of even-year elections in which state and federal offices are contested.
Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien emailed that 5,990 ballots had been received at the end of the day on Nov. 2. That’s about 18.5% of the county’s registered voters.
O’Brien wrote that she expects to see another 5,000 to 6,000 ballots by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
That would result in a voter turnout of not quite 40%. That would be a slight increase over the 2015 and 2017 odd-year elections, which saw 34% and 36% turnout, respectively.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2930.
According to Land Title Guarantee Company, October was the best month of this year for real estate sales. In October alone, there were 230 transactions, with a dollar value of more than $261 million. Both are high marks for the year so far.