Inside the ballot issues for Pitkin and Eagle counties
October 30, 2009
Election Day is closing in, so Roaring Fork Valley residents of Pitkin and Eagle counties must either get their ballots in the mail or, to be safe, deliver them to their county clerk’s office. All ballots must be received by the clerk’s offices by 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The following is a summary of ballot issues for valley voters.
• City of Aspen Referendum 2A: The city wants advice on whether it should continue to use Instant Runoff Voting for its mayor and council elections. The question is on the ballot because of the controversy and complications associated with IRV in the May election. Voters are being asked a simple “yes” or “no” on whether to keep using the method.
• Energy improvement districts, Referendum 1A: Voters in both Pitkin and Eagle counties will vote on separate energy improvement district proposals. The question is Referendum 1A on both ballots.
The proposals create a way for homeowners and business owners to harness public money for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects without costing taxpayers a dime.
Both counties are seeking permission to issue bonds and create pools of money to finance the districts. Homeowners and business owners would then apply for low-interest loans from those pools of money. Their energy efficiency or renewable energy projects would need to be approved.
Recommended Stories For You
The loans would be repaid through a special assessment on the property tax bills of participants. The loans would be tied to the properties rather than specific owners, so the repayment obligation would remain with the property in case of a sale.
Pitkin County is seeking approval to issue up to $7 million in bonds for its program; Eagle County is seeking permission to issue up to $10 million.
• Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District Referendum 4A: The question is on the ballots of some midvalley residents in both Pitkin and Eagle counties. A one-year increase in the property tax for the park and recreation district is being sought to plan a new recreation center and the remainder of the property at Crown Mountain Park.
The property tax would be raised by 0.36 mills for one year, boosting the overall mill levy to 1.36 for the coming tax year. The district submitted inaccurate ballot wording – creating the appearance that the total mill levy will be 0.36 rather than 1.36 if the measure is approved. Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District mailed a postcard with the correct wording to all eligible voters. Critics contend that wasn’t enough to cure the inaccurate wording. As of Thursday, the park and recreation district was sticking with the question.
• Aspen School District: There are four candidates running for three positions on the school board. The candidates are Robert A. Glah, Kathryn “Katy” Frisch, Elizabeth Parker and Charla Belinski. Parker and Belinski are incumbents. All terms will be for four years.
• Redstone Water and Sanitation District Referendum 5B: Voters in that special district will decide whether to authorize increased debt to replace their 35-year-old sewage treatment plant. The project won’t necessarily move forward even if Referendum 5B is approved. The district also needs to secure at least $ 1 million in federal stimulus dollars to proceed.
• Aspen Local Marketing District, Referendum 5A: This question is now a moot point. The question did not appear on the ballots of some Aspenites who were eligible to vote on the issue, and did appear on the ballots of others who were ineligible, owing to a mistake by the city of Aspen. Therefore, Referendum 5A is invalid, and votes will not be counted, even though it physically remains on the ballot.