2021 Election, Arvada, Edgewater, Elections, Jefferson County, Lakewood, Littleton, Marijuana, Mountain View, Sherrie Peif, TABOR, Taxes, Uncategorized, Westminster, Wheat Ridge

Tax hikes, pot shops and gender neutral pronouns just a sampling of busy Jefferson County ballot

GOLDEN — Jefferson County voters will have no shortage of decisions to make when they open their ballots for the Nov. 2 election.

Eighteen ballot measures and nineteen contested city council and mayoral seats are up for grabs in municipalities throughout the county, as are three Jefferson County School Board seats, all of which are contested. Local ballot measures run the gamut from tax and debt hikes, recreational marijuana stores, gender neutral pronouns, eligibility to hold office, and how long petitioners have to gather signatures for citizen-initiated measures.

In a year, however, that has many political races statewide being challenged by 10 or more candidates, voters in the town of Mountain View and the cities of Wheat Ridge, Golden and Edgewater will get no choice in some who run their communities as candidates for office there are running unopposed.

Here’s a look at what’s coming voters’ way:

JEFFERSON COUNTY R-1 SCHOOL DISTRICT —

  • Three seats on the Jeffco Board of Education are open, all are contested. Three candidates are running as a slate on a platform of improved educational outcomes and district accountability: Jeff Wilhite in District 1, Theresa Shelton in District 2, and Kathy Miks in District 5. On the other side is a teachers’ union-backed slate: Dannielle Varda in District 1, Paula Reed in District 2 and Mary Parker in District 5.

ARVADA —

  • Three city council seats, At-Large, District 1 and District 3 are contested
  • Ballot Question 3C, if passed, will remove the prohibition of a resident who works for another municipality from running for public office.
  • Ballot Question 3D, if passed, will increase the number of days to fill a city council vacancy from 30 to 45 days.
  • Ballot Question 3E, if passed, will increase the amount of time to gather signatures on citizen-initiated petitions from 30 to 60 days.
  • Ballot Question 3F, if passed, will increase the amount of time to gather signatures on referendum petitions from 30 to 60 days.

EDGEWATER —

  • The Mayor’s race is unopposed and there are four candidates for three open city council seats.

GOLDEN —

  • All open city council seats (four) are running unopposed
  • Ballot Question 2A would allow a ‘limited’ number of retail marijuana stores within city limits.
  • Question 2A is conditioned on voters passing a 6 percent excise tax on retail marijuana via Ballot Question 2B, worth an estimated $900,000 per year starting in 2022. The measure includes language permanently setting aside revenue limits under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR.
  • Ballot Question 2C would raise taxes by a minimum of $2 million per year beginning 2022 through a 6 percent lodging tax for all short-term rental of any “room, accommodation or space in any hotel, inn, bed and other breakfast residents, or any other place that provides sleeping rom or sleeping facilities.” It too includes language that permanently sets aside any TABOR revenue limits.

LAKEWOOD —

  • Six city council seats are up for grabs, and all are opposed. Ward 5 is the most packed of the bunch, with four candidates seeking two open spots. The top vote-getter gets a full four-year term and the second highest vote-getter will fill a two-year vacancy.
  • Lakewood voters will also decide on the retention of two municipal judges: Anne Stavig and Nicole Bozarth.
  • Ballot Issue 2D would raise tases by a minimum of $3 million per year through a 5 percent tax on retail marijuana. The measure includes language that sets aside any limits under TABOR.

LITTLETON —

  • The mayor and one at-large city council seat are open, both are contested.  The at-large race sets up an ideological dividing line on issues such as homelessness between conservative Denver Post Columnist Krista Kafer and a progressive-left opponent, Gretchen Rydin.
  • Ballot Issue 3A would raise taxes by a minimum of $10 million per year through a three-quarters of one percent sales and use tax increase to be used on “capital improvement projects including streets, streetscaping, public works facility replacement, and public safety facility improvements” among other things. It includes language that sets aside any limits under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. You can read Complete Colorado’s previous coverage of the Littleton election here.

MOUNTAIN VIEW —

  • The mayoral race is contested, but all three candidates for council will win a seat in an at-large race that only has three options.

WESTMINSTER —

  • Two candidates are vying to be the next mayor, while nine others want a shot at four open council seats.
  • Ballot Question 3G would change the city charter in connection with elected officers, terms of office, special elections and recalls, bringing into compliance the charter and state and federal laws.
  • Ballot Question 3H would require background checks for city employees and elected officials be provided by third-party companies approved by the Westminster Police Department. The charter change would bring he charter into compliance with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and NCIC policies.
  • Ballot Question 3I would change the city charter so that exclusively masculine pronouns in the charter are replaced with gender neutral pronouns.
  • Ballot Question 3J would create a commission to explore futute charter changes that would see city council seats be elected from geographic wards rather than at-large.
  • Ballot Question 3K would allow the operation of marijuana businesses inside city limits.
  • 3K is contingent on passage of Ballot Question 3L, implementing a 5 percent city sales tax on retail marijuana, worth an estimated $2 million per year. It includes language that sets aside any revenue limits under TABOR.
  • Ballot Issue 3M would increase taxes by a minimum of $5 million per year with an increase in the public safety sales and use tax by 15 hundredths of one percent, and increase debt with a $25 million bond to be used on public safety gear, expenses, vehicles, and training among other things. It includes language that sets aside TABOR revenue.
  • Ballot Issue 3N would approve a $15 million bond and extend an existing a one-quarter of one percent sales and use tax until Dec. 31, 2041 for the purpose of improving various parks, trails, open space, and natural areas among other things. It includes language that sets aside any limits under TABOR.

WHEATRIDGE —

  • Only one seat out of five available on city council is contested. District III has two candidates. Mayor, District I, District II and District IV are all unopposed.

PLEASANT VIEW METROPOLITAN DISTRICT —

  • Ballot Issue 6A would increase taxes by $1.3 million per year by hiking property taxes by 7 mills to pay for general operations of the district.

Mail-in ballots will begin being dropping in mid-October for the Nov. 2 election.  Jefferson County’s all-inclusive sample ballot is available here.

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