Ballots, issues are in voters' hands

VALLEY — Ballots are out, and San Luis Valley voters have several big decisions to make, with ballot questions ranging from marijuana to new school buildings.

Matches for BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grants for new schools are on the ballots for Mountain Valley and Del Norte school constituents, and marijuana questions are on the ballots for Alamosa and Monte Vista voters.

Ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7. They may be mailed in or dropped at the clerk’s office of the voter’s respective county. Many counties have 24-hour ballot drop boxes for voters’ convenience. Ballots received after 7 p.m. on November 7 will not be counted, so be sure to return them in time.

The Mountain Valley School District has been awarded a $27 million BEST grant towards a new school and is seeking voter approval for a $3.72 million bond issue to match the BEST grant.

Del Norte also has a $27 million BEST grant and is asking for voters to approve a $17.95 million bond issue (3A) as the local match for a new K-12 school campus in Del Norte next to the football field. For more information about the bond issue, please contact the bond committee in care of Mike Hurst, at 719- 850-3382 or [email protected].

Colorado statutes require an election to allow a municipality to provide broadband service or partner with the private sector to provide that service, and voters in 67 cities and towns have already approved such measures. This fall, 16 municipalities have put the question on the ballot including two in the San Luis Valley, Alamosa (2B) and Monte Vista (Initiative 300.)

Alamosa and Monte Vista voters will decide whether to allow marijuana sales in their city limits.

Alamosa poses two citizen-initiated marijuana questions, ballot question 300, seeking approval of medical marijuana stores in the city limits, and 301, seeking approval of recreational marijuana stores in the city limits, to be regulated similarly to alcohol establishments.

In Monte Vista the two are combined in one question (2B), whether or not to allow medical and retail facilities/sales in the city limits.

Marijuana taxes are also being considered in Alamosa and Monte Vista, should voters allow marijuana sales. In Monte Vista, 2A asks voters to impose taxes of 18 percent on both retail and medical marijuana sales, with 1 percent specifically designated for the Monte Vista Police Department and 1 percent specifically designated for the city’s capital improvement fund.

In Alamosa (2A), a tax of 5 percent is only sought for recreational marijuana sales, should voters approve them, with 0 tax for medical marijuana sales.

Other issues
Alamosa will also ask voters: whether to allow non-residents who are employed full-time, own property, or own businesses in the city to serve on certain boards and commissions (2C); whether to repeal charter requirement for bonds on any city improvement over $5,000 (2D); and a salary increase for council members (2E), increasing council annual stipends from $4,800 to $7,200 and mayoral annual stipends from $7,200 to $9,600.

Sangre de Cristo school district is asking voter approval to eliminate term limits.

This is not an inclusive list but shares some of the candidates running for office in the Valley this November:

Alamosa school board only has one race, although it has four school board seats to fill. No candidates are running for Director District 3 and 6, and Erica Romero is unopposed in seeking re-election to Director District 4. Three candidates are seeking the Director District 1 seat being vacated by Charlie Sanchez: Elias “Eli” Heredia; Thomas “Thom” Miller, MD; and Star Quintana.

Alamosa city council has races for all open seats except for the at-large position held by Jan Vigil, who is seeking re-election unopposed. Running for mayor are current Mayor Josef Lucero and Councilor/Mayor Pro Tem Ty Coleman; running for Ward 2 are current Councilor Kristina Daniel and David Broyles; and running for Ward 4 are current Councilor Michael Stefano and Michael Carson.

Sargent school district has five candidates running for three open seats, with top vote getters to be seated on the board: Yael Defaye; Tyler Mitchell; Michele Peterson; Tyler Kyffin; and Nathan Burkhart.
Center school district only has one contested race, for Director B, for which James Sanchez and Misty Jo Palacios are running.

In Del Norte, three people are running for the two open seats on the school board: Neal Walters; Bridget Kreutzer; and Laura Anzalone.

In Monte Vista, three candidates are running for two open seats on the Monte Vista city council: incumbent Matthew Martinez; Gary Johnson; and Victor Sigala. Dale Becker is running for the mayoral position.