JEFFERSON COUNTY–While candidate races and state-wide ballot measures dominate the news, Tuesday’s election included numerous local measures in Jefferson County, here’s a look at some of those measures, that both passed and failed.
Jefferson County School District voters narrowly said yes to paying more in property taxes, passing Issue 5A, a $33 million tax hike that Jeffco schools claims will go to increasing teacher pay, among other things. But those same voters also shot down a corresponding debt measure for Jeffco schools capital construction, the $567 million Issue 5B.
Elsewhere in Jeffco, Golden voters trounced Question 2E (65-35), that would have allowed 16-year olds to vote in municipal elections. Critics of the measure noted that while political decision may impact them, 16-year olds are not legally responsible for themselves until they turn 18, and thus shouldn’t have the same say in policy decision as legal adults.
While voters turned down the state-wide measure Proposition 109, an effort to bond for road and bridge projects without a tax increase, Arvada voters signed off on a similar concept at the local level. Issue 3F authorizes a nearly $80 million bond to fund road improvements on two of Arvada’s major east-west travel corridors—Ralston Road and West 72nd Avenue, to be paid back without a tax increase. The measure passed easily, 66-34.
In Edgewater, which borders Denver, Wheat Ridge and Lakewood, voters crushed Question 2F by a margin of 70-30, which would have would have taken pay raises for city council members out of the hands of voters, and into the hands of council members themselves.
Edgewater voters did however sign off on Question 2G, which requires written notice of poor attendance to city council members who miss too many meetings. The City Charter requires council members attend at least 70 percent of meetings or they may be removed for dereliction.
In Littleton, voters rejected a slew of city charter changes but for one, Question 3E, which restored city council’s ability to hold closed-door executive sessions.
Voters in Lakewood signed off on Issue 2D, which allows the city to keep and spend around $12.5 million in excess revenue which otherwise would have been refunded under Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). Wheat Ridge voters said yes to that city keeping excess sales tax revenue. TABOR requires governments to make their case and ask voter permission before keeping excess tax dollars.
Voters within the West Metro Fire Protection District agreed to “de-Gallagherize” the district’s portion of property taxes. The assessment rate for residential property taxes is currently scheduled to drop from 7.2 percent to 6.11 percent in 2019. Under Issue 7C, which passed 69-31, West Metro is authorized to adjust its mill levy upward to offset any revenue losses from that rate drop.
Voters passed similar measures in the Arvada, Fairmount and Evergreen fire districts as well.