From recreational marijuana shops in Palmer Lake to a special election for a new town trustee in Monument, El Paso County voters will have a chance to weigh in on a variety of issues in the Nov. 6 election. Here are some highlights from the ballot:
El Paso County
1A: Voters will decide whether to extend a public safety sales tax — which is now slated to sunset on Jan. 21, 2021 — until 2029.
The tax, about 2 cents on a $10 purchase, pays the salaries and benefits of 192 Sheriff’s Office employees and accounted for more than $20 million of the agency’s 2018 budget of about $75 million. It has paid for equipment, jail security upgrades, IT needs such as software and radio systems, and the purchase of the Mark Dabling Boulevard building that houses the county’s Office of Emergency Management.
2A and 2B: For a third time, Palmer Lake voters will be asked whether to allow recreational marijuana sales in the small foothills town.
Residents voted against local sales of recreational marijuana in 2014 and again in 2016.
Another ballot question will ask voter approval for a 5 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana sales if the pot shop measure passes.
2C: Voters will be asked if the city should opt out of a 2005 state law that bars local governments from entering the broadband market. This would open the door for the city to explore how it might provide better high-speed internet access to its residents and businesses.
Other local jurisdictions — including Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs and El Paso County — have voted to opt out of the legislation in recent years.
Trustee Special Election: Voters will decide who will take the seat left open when former trustee Don Wilson was elected mayor last spring. With six members, the board couldn’t agree on an appointee.
Candidates Kenneth Kimple and Jim Romanello were nominated during a June meeting. Ann Howe, a former New Hampshire state legislator who ran unsuccessfully to become the Republican nominee for District 1 El Paso County commissioner, has also entered the race.
Green Mountain Falls
3A: Green Mountain Falls previously had a lodging tax but stopped collecting the tax after learning it was inconsistent with state law. The measure would create a valid lodging tax to replace lost revenue. The tax would be paid by visitors staying in hotels, inns or other lodging and would cost up to $4.50 per day per room.
3D: The measure would reduce the number of trustees on the town’s board from six to four, plus the mayor. As of early October, the board had two vacant seats.
Falcon Fire Protection District
6B: The district is asking for voter approval to increase taxes by nearly doubling the mill levy. The measure would cost homeowners about $3.76 per month per $100,000 of a home’s actual value, according to proponents, who say the measure is needed to improve emergency response times. The district would use the revenue to establish its own ambulance service for residents, who are now served by the county’s emergency services contractor.
Lewis-Palmer School District 38
4A and 4B: The district is seeking a $1 million mill levy override, or property tax increase, and a $36.5 million bond authorization.
The $1 million MLO would provide additional safety and security staff and training at all D-38 schools, including its charter school, Monument Academy. It would sunset in seven years.
The $36.5 million bond would build a new elementary school, convert Bear Creek Elementary back to a middle school and provide safety and security improvements at all D-38 schools.
The MLO and the bond would cost homeowners about $14 per month for the average home valued at $400,000.
El Paso County School District 49
4C: The school district wants to reduce its overall mill levy by switching from a fixed dollar amount of $7.5 million annually to a fixed cap of 18.500 mills. This would enable the district to continue to increase funding through new home construction. The proposal would not increase property taxes but would lead to a decrease.
Harrison School District 2
4E: The district seeks a $180 million bond measure to make school improvements. It’s the first time in 18 years D-2 has sought bond funding from local voters, and decreases in state funding for education has shortchanged D-2 by $90 million over the past decade.
Money would be used for improvements including renovation to existing schools, construction of a new school building for Carmel Middle School and conversion of Soaring Eagles and Sand Creek International elementary schools into K-8 campuses.