DEL NORTE— Ballots were sent out around the Valley on Oct. 15 to registered voters, and Election Day, Nov. 6 is on the horizon. Many issues face the Valley as a whole and will impact the several communities including electing county officials, increasing funding to schools, supporting industrialized hemp projects on taxes in local communities.
Rio Grande County has several issues on the ballot that will affect local communities like Del Norte in questions that pertain to increasing sales tax revenue to help pay for additional police officers and to aid in funding needed to revitalize the downtown area. Throughout the year, the town held several meetings to decide whether or not to place a sales tax increase on the ballot for November and voted to do so in mid-August.
The sales tax increase ballot question asks voters to opt in or out of a two to four percent increase which would be split evenly between the two issues. The town has recently faced issues with hiring additional police officers for the area and felt that by asking for additional funding they would have better luck, not only hiring additional officers by being able to offer more for salary, but would also give the town an incentive in being able to keep officers on board by offering competitive wages.
The other project the town would use the funding for is a rehabilitation project proposed earlier this summer to redo the downtown area. The project includes new sidewalks, streetlights, benches, flower pots, trash receptacles and other small improvements.
Rio Grande County residents will also be voting to elect a new or re-elect the current sheriff. South Fork Police Chief Don McDonald won the primary election earlier in the year but was soon opposed by write-in candidate and current Rio Grande County Sheriff Brian Norton.
Other county offices that appear on the 2018 ballot were determined in the primary elections this past summer and include John Noffsker for Rio Grande County Commissioner, Cindy Hill for Rio Grande County Clerk and Recorder, Cherilyn Rue for Rio Grande County Treasurer, JJ Mondragon for Rio Grande County Assessor and Stephen Hunzeker for Rio Grande County Coroner.
Some of the constitutional amendments that directly affect the county include Amendment X which asks the question on whether or not an amendment should be added to change the Colorado Constitution in regards to hemp and Amendment 73 that would increase state taxes to address school funding as well as Proposition 112 which would change Colorado revised statute oil and gas requirements for new oil and gas developments.
All of the issues on this year’s ballot bring with them a change for the future of the Valley and the rest of the state. For those who have not received a ballot, Oct. 29 is the last day to submit an application in order to receive a ballot in time for the election. Interested parties can fill out an application at www.govotecolorado.com or through the Rio Grande County Clerk and Recorder’s office in Del Norte.
Ballots are due no later than 7 p.m. on Nov. 6. Be sure to get out and vote!