Election 2018Hot SheetMarijuana

Smoking tax, pot sales: A Colorado muni election roundup

Author: Mark Harden - April 4, 2018 - Updated: April 4, 2018

A voter on 2017’s Election Day in Vail. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)

While the Colorado political world has its mind set on the path to the November election, voters in 120 cities and towns across the state went to the polls Tuesday to decide often-unsexy-but-still-important matters.

For example, in the town of Basalt, between Glenwood Springs and Aspen, voters agreed to boost the local tax on cigarettes by $2 a pack and also to charge a 40 percent sales tax on other tobacco products, following the lead of nearby Aspen.

And voters in Naturita approved a package of six marijuana-related measures, allowing medical and retail marijuana sales and imposing new sales and excise taxes on cannabis sales. Meanwhile, Berthoud residents voted to let municipally licensed medical marijuana dispensaries add recreational sales. And new marijuana taxes passed in Crawford, Delta, Ordway, and Yuma, but were voted down in Orchard City.

Six towns statewide decided whether to create municipal broadband services; click here for those results.

Here’s a roundup of other municipal election results around the state — unofficial and subject to change at this point — as compiled by the Colorado Municipal League from results supplied by local officials:

Term limits:

Pagosa Springs voters approved term limits of two consecutive four-year terms, while voters in Glendale approved term limits of three consecutive four-year terms. Lyons voters split the term limit questions, approving an increase to four two-year terms for a mayor, but keeping the limit for trustees at three. Voters in Red Cliff eliminated term limits for their elected officials.

Tax and bond issues:

Fruita voters approved the city’s retention of all revenues from 2019 through 2024.
Alma, Elizabeth, and Lyons voters passed lodging taxes.
Sales tax questions that passed around the state include:

• Cortez – extension of sales tax for family recreation center
• Glendale – modification of current sales tax to remove earmark restricting use to water related purposes
• Ignacio – new sales tax for capital improvements
• La Veta – extension of current sales taxes for museum expenses and street improvements
• Milliken – extension of sales tax for capital improvements
• Nederland – new sales tax for roads
• Paonia – new sales tax for general operating expenses

The sales tax questions that did not pass include:

• Arriba – for capital improvements
• Crestone – for general operating expenses
• Limon – for capital improvements
• Orchard City – for roads and law enforcement services

Wiley voters approved a mill levy increase, and Carbondale voters approved the extension of a current mill levy, both to fund streets and related improvements. Mill levy increases did not pass in Ault, Orchard City, and Pitkin.

Eckley voters approved $165,000 of debt for sanitation system improvements, Limon voters authorized $8.68 million of debt for capital improvements, and Nederland voters authorized $2 million of debt for wastewater improvements. Erie’s request for debt authority of $13.75 million for a town hall expansion did not pass.

Publication requirements:

Voters approved the publication of ordinances by titles only in Hugo, Kersey, Lake City, Milliken, and Springfield. Pitkin received authorization to no longer publish the bills list or contracts awarded.

Election date:

Morrison and Palmer Lake voters approved moving their regular town elections to November of even-numbered years.

Administrative charter amendments:

Glendale and Morrison voters approved updates to obsolete provisions of their home rule charter.

Other issues:

• Antonito – approved the sale of a public building
• Berthoud – approved a 32.44 acre annexation
• Erie – approved the sale of 0.65 acres of town land
• Frisco – did not approve the sale or lease of a community park for residential use
• Pagosa Springs – approved the elimination of council districts and for council members to be elected at large

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.