Election Day is coming fast; ballots are due by 7 p.m. Tuesday
The Aspen Times
The midterms did not spare voters in the upper Roaring Fork Valley, who will have plenty of decisions to make on Election Day.
Local voters have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to decide on tax and funding issues related to open space, ambulance service and vacation rentals. They’ll also weigh in on the contests for the sheriff of Pitkin County, the mayor of Snowmass, the District 2 seat on the Board of County Commissioners, and multiple seats held by incumbents running unchallenged.
State and federal contest are on the ballots, with control of both the U.S. House and Senate on the line. Aspen resident Adam Frisch is the Democratic challenger to Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Silt, for the 3rd Congressional District seat; Republican Joe O’Dea is taking on Sen. Michael Bennet; Heidi Ganahl is the Republican challenger to Jared Polis in the gubernatorial race; Glenwood Springs Democrat Elizabeth Velasco is hoping to unseat Republican incumbent state Rep. Perry Will, who represents state House District 57. There are 11 state issues on the ballot.
Among the state ballot issues voters will weigh in on are affordable housing, healthy school meals, wine in grocery stores, access to psychedelic substances, a reduction in the state income tax rate, tax breaks for homeowners who survivors of deceased military veterans and military members, and bingo-raffle licenses for nonprofits. Eight judges on the Colorado Court of Appeals also will be up for retention, as well as 9th Judicial District Judge John Fowler Neiley.
Early voting began Oct. 24 and went through Saturday at the Pitkin County Administration and Sheriff’s Office. Voters can cast their ballots at the Aspen Jewish Community Center, 435 W. Main St., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m Tuesday, Nov. 7 and Nov. 8
Pitkin County electors also can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Basalt Regional Library at 14 Midland Ave. and at Snowmass Village Town Hall at 130 Kearns Road.
Locally, here’s a snapshot of the local questions and candidates Pitkin County voters will see on their ballots.
City of Aspen
Ballot Issue 2A (short-term rental tax) — This questions ask if guests of vacation rental properties will face a new tax of either 5% on owner-occupied and lodge-exempt properties or 10% on properties used as investments or properties like second homes that are not the owner’s primary residence,
The tax increase is expected to bring in $9,140,000 in revenue for the city its first year. The city would allocate at least 70% of that money to fund affordable housing projects. The remaining 30% would go to infrastructure repair and environmental protection initiatives.
Ballot Issue 2B (open space and trails sales tax extension) — Voters will decide if the city should extend the 0.5% sales tax in perpetuity. The funds from the tax will go to the continued purchase, maintenance, and improvement of parks and outdoor spaces.
Aspen Ambulance District
Ballot Issue 6A — This question asks voters to raise ambulance the district’s mill levy to 1.10, which would equate to an annual property tax of $110 for $100,000 of a property’s assessed value. The proposal asks for a property tax increase of up to $2,443,901.
Aspen Valley Hospital contracts with the Aspen Ambulance District for its services, while Pitkin County commissioners govern the district. The ambulance district is its own taxing authority.
Town of Snowmass Village
Ballot Issue 2C (expanding use of tax dollars) — Snowmass voters will be voting on whether to approve a ballot measure that would divert a portion of the revenue generated from the town’s separate marketing and lodging taxes to worker housing. This measure would not raise any existing tax rate or impose a new tax, rather it would expand the use of an existing tax.
Uses of the current 2.4% town lodging tax and 2.5% town sales tax are restricted to marketing, special events and group sales purposes. This measure would expand the use of these taxes, allowing them to be used for workforce housing, marketing, special events and group sales.
Pitkin County sheriff — Democratic candidate Michael Buglione is challenging three-term incumbent Joe DiSalvo, who is running unaffiliated. Buglione’s campaign has focused on his efforts to address mental health and hire and retain local staff, while also stinging the sheriff with criticism about his management style and questions about his commitment to the community. DiSalvo has said his experience as sheriff makes him the clear choice to re-elect, and has said some of Buglione’s supporters are operating a smear campaign for personal reasons.
Pitkin County Board of Commissioners — Commissioner Patti Clapper is running unopposed in the District 1 race, and Commissioner Kelly McNicholas Kury is defending her District 2 seat against Erin Smiddy. Kury has a career in public and civiic service; her first term as a commissioner included navigating the county through the pandemic, championing environmental, child care and worker housing issues. Smiddy has run as a working-class local who understands the struggles to work and live in Pitkin County, and has said as a commissioner she would look for more worker housing opportunities and oppose runway expansion at the airport.
Snowmass Ballot Preview
2022 Mayoral Candidates
Incumbent Bill Madsen hopes to secure another two-year term as Snowmass Village mayor. Prior to his first term as mayor, Madsen served on the Town Council from 2014 to 2020 and was a member of the Board of Health, Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council, RFTA, EOTC, JAS Aspen Snowmass and Bob Beattie Ski Foundation. If he is elected to a second term, Madsen hopes to focus on the needs of the town and follow through on current council goals that have been set.
Challenger Reed Lewis is an entrepreneur in Snowmass Village, running businesses such as Daly Bottle Shop, Grain Fine Food, 81615 T-Shirt and Gift and Lys Chocolate. He served on the Town Council from 2006 to 2010, along with being a member of various boards such as Ruedi Water and Power Authority Board, Snowmass Tourism Board, Willows Condominium HOA and AspenOUT Board. Lewis hopes to focus on workforce housing because he understands the draw of living in Snowmass, and he wants to make that a possibility for those who want it.
2022 Town Council Candidates
Incumbent council member Tom Goode and three challengers are vying for two open seats in the Nov. 8 election. He is running against Matt Dubé, who works in and owns commercial real estate; Britta Gustafson, the creative director for Edible Aspen magazine and communications director at the Farm Collaborative; and Susan Marolt, a certified public accountant and partner in Marolt LLP CPA.
Marolt has experience on the Aspen Board of Education as both president and board member, as well as many other boards. Gustafson, who was born and raised in Snowmass, has served on the Little Red Schoolhouse and Wildwood boards. Dubé is a member of the Snowmass Village Planning Commission and Snowmass Village Rotary Club.
All four candidates share similar views on the importance of the community character of Snowmass and take pride in wanting to help build the community. They disagree on development in Snowmass. While Dubé and Marolt think the development is moving at a sustainable pace, Goode and Gustafson worry it may be moving too quickly.
Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert won reelection in Colorado’s GOP-leaning 3rd Congressional District on Friday, barely overcoming voters’ forceful rebuke of her highly controversial tenure in Washington over the past two years to help her party expand its slim majority in the U.S. House.