July 18, 2011
The city of Colorado Springs is one of 18 entities that, as of Monday, has reserved a spot on the Nov. 1 ballot, according to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Office. But it will be another month before it’s known whether voters will decide the fate of city-owned Memorial Health System.
Friday marks the 100th day out from the election and is the last day for political subdivisions, such as school districts, special districts and municipalities, to inform the county’s Election Department that they plan to participate. They have until Aug. 23 to rescind the decision.
It’s typical for entities to make sure they have a slot early on, without solidifying ballot measures, said El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams.
A task force weighing options of whether the city of Colorado Springs should divest ownership of the hospital system still intends to recommend a question to City Council for placement on the November ballot, said Jan Martin, who heads the task force and serves as City Council President Pro Tem.
“We’re working hard to be sure we have everything covered and we can get it on the ballot,” she said Monday, adding that a special council meeting to discuss the issue might be necessary, close to the Aug. 23 deadline.
City Council President Scott Hente said he knows of no other city issue at this time that could be headed for the ballot.
“The mayor has suggested that there be a couple of changes to the new city charter and new form of government, but we don’t have anything yet,” he said. “We’ve just asked them to hold a space for us with the possibility that we might have something. Until we make a decision about the hospital, it’s still up in the air.”
Under the new strong mayor structure, only City Council can send questions pertaining to the city on the ballot. Citizens also can petition items onto the ballot. Hente said he is not aware of any petition drives.
Thirteen school districts and one fire district also have requested to be on the ballot. Williams said he expects at least one more school district and a water district to come forward this week. All area school districts will have school board elections, Williams said. Several also are considering mill levy override proposals to make up for shortfalls in property tax collections.
In addition to Colorado Springs, the cities of Manitou Springs, Fountain and Calhan also have indicated they want to be included in the election.
Manitou Springs City Clerk Donna Kast said voters will select a mayor, mayor pro tem, two at-large City Council seats and the Ward 2 seat, which was filled by Coreen Toll on May 25, to replace Ingrid Richter, who resigned to take a new job.
Fountain residents will elect 2 at-large City Council seats and the Ward 2 seat, said City Clerk Silvia Mascarenas.
Also, she said, an attorney has requested a citizens’ petition to overturn the ban on medical marijuana, which voters passed last November and which took effect July 1.
“My understanding is that a citizen will pick up that petition on Tuesday and begin circulating it,” she said.
On the eastern plains, Mayor Blair Bartling said Calhan voters will decide if they want to pay an extra 1 percent sales tax to join the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, which funds local road construction and maintenance projects.
Williams said Calhan also plans to have a Taxpayer Bill of Rights-related measure on the ballot.
Candidates’ names and ballot questions must be submitted by Sept. 2.
This off-year election will be mail-in ballot only and is estimated to cost about $500,000, according to Williams. Entities share the cost, based on how many ballots are mailed to voters they serve.
Two countywide issues — a parks tax to maintain city and county parks, and a revote of a term extension proposal that passed last fall — will not be on the Nov. 1 ballot. The county would have had to pay up to $300,000, a factor which El Paso County commissioners considered.
Oct. 3 is the last day to register to vote.
Voter information cards to be mailed to inactive voters
Residents who didn’t vote in last year’s General Election and have not yet update their voting status yet will receive a voter information card in the mail in the next few days.
The card will allow voters to reactivate their record in order to receive a ballot for the Nov. 1 mail-in election. Notices also were sent in February. This week’s mailing will provide a second opportunity for inactive voters to be able to vote in November.
Instead of mailing back the card, votes also can go to www.GoVoteColorado.com or go to one of the three El Paso County Clerk and Recorder offices in person. The cards now feature information for contacting elected officials.
For more information, contact Alissa Vander Veen at AlissaVanderVeen@elpasoco.com or 351-9626. More election information is available at http://car.elpasoco.com/Election/Pages/default.aspx.