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Housing and taxes: The local questions on ballots across the state

More than 125 municipal ballot questions will be on ballots in Colorado on Nov. 2.

DENVER — Housing, taxes and bonds, and marijuana are some of the issues that residents in Colorado municipalities will be voting on this November.

On Election Day, Nov. 2, voters in 88 cities and towns across the state will consider ballot questions and candidates in the 2021 Coordinated Election. More than 125 ballot questions are on ballots in Colorado.

Here's a rundown on what communities will be voting on, courtesy of the Colorado Municipal League.

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Denver

Here are all the questions on Denver's ballot, including several items on increasing the city's debt for improvements and repairs:

  • 2A: On whether the city's debt should be increased about $104 million for repairs and improvements to the facilities system.
  • 2B: On whether the city's debt should be increased by $38.6 million for repairs and improvements to the housing and sheltering system.
  • 2C: On whether the city's debt should be increased about $63 million for repairs and improvements to the transportation and mobility system.
  • 2D: On whether the city's debt should be increased about $54 million for repairs and improvements to the parks and recreation system.
  • 2E: On whether the city's debt should be increased $190 million for repairs and improvements to the National Western Campus facilities system.
  • 2F: This referendum would strike down an ordinance passed by the City Council that allows more unrelated people to live together. The ordinance also concerns residential care facilities and community corrections facilities.
  • 2G: On who should appoint an independent monitor for the city's public safety departments: the mayor, or a citizen oversight board with the consent of the City Council.
  • 2H: This question would move the City and County of Denver General Election to the first Tuesday in April of odd-numbered years.
  • Ordinance 300: This initiative would increase the marijuana sales tax by $7 million annually beginning Jan. 1 to fund pandemic research. 
  • Ordinances 301/302: These both concern the future of the former Park Hill Golf Course and its current conservation easement.
  • Ordinance 303: This initiative would require the city to enforce unauthorized camping and allow up to four authorized camping locations on public property.
  • Ordinance 304: This would reduce the total sales and use tax in Denver from 4.81% to 4.5%.

Housing

Several municipalities have housing-related questions on the ballot.

Boulder voters will consider an initiative to increase the number of people allowed to reside in a household.

Telluride has three questions on its ballot: a lodging tax to manage the effects of tourism, an increase in business license fees for short-term rental units with a cap on license numbers, and a cap of 400 on short-term rental business licenses available for non-primary residences.

Many other mountain communities will decide measures on short-term rentals.

Leadville, Ouray and Avon will all decide on excise or accommodations taxes on short-term rentals to fund community housing programs, while Vail will vote on a sales tax to fund housing initiatives.

Basalt will decide on $18 million in debt authority to fund affordable housing, infrastructure improvements and green projects.

Crested Butte will decide two questions: $8.985 million in debt authority, to be paid for with an increase of the excise tax on vacation rentals and a separate question for $24 million in debt authority to be paid for with two taxes.

In Lafayette, residents will vote on a sales tax to be used for mental health and human services, which may include assistance with rent, food, utilities, child care, medical care, mental health care and support for domestic violence victims.

Taxes and bond issues

Sales tax questions are on more than a dozen ballots:

  • Castle Rock and Colorado Springs: For open space and trails.
  • Deer Trail: For the provision of town services.
  • Gunnison and Mead: For streets and capital projects.
  • Idaho Springs: For water and wastewater capital improvement projects.
  • Lafayette and Monument: For public safety services.
  • Las Animas: For recreational improvements.
  • Littleton: For capital improvement projects.
  • Lone Tree and Ramah: For city services.
  • Superior: For transportation improvements.
  • Yuma: For general expenses.

Two cities are requesting sales tax extensions: Boulder, for capital improvement projects, and Greeley, for street and pedestrian safety improvements.

Castle Rock, Golden and Rico have lodging taxes on the ballot. Castle Rock voters also will consider a housing construction tax to fund police, fire protection and emergency medical services.

Black Hawk has two occupational taxes: one on live stadium games and one on self-service betting devices for sports event betting.

Three cities have property tax questions:

  • Glenwood Springs: For the municipal airport.
  • Rico: For the public works fund.
  • Williamsburg: For Road and flood drainage improvements.

Several cities and towns are asking for the authority to expand the use of existing taxes:

  • Aspen: To expand the uses allowed for the Wheeler Opera House real estate transfer tax and remove the current limitation on the grant of funds for the purpose of supporting cultural, visual and performing arts.
  • Evans: To use revenues from the sales tax on domestic food to finance the costs of a city police station.
  • Haxtun: To use revenues from the tax dedicated to the community center for street improvements.
  • Walsenburg: To use revenues from a street improvements tax to include other expenses related to streets and storm drainage projects.
  • Wellington: To use revenues from a streets tax for parks, trails and open space.

And debt authority is being requested by:

  • Boulder: $110 million to fund capital improvement projects.
  • Eagle: $27 million for development projects to be undertaken by the Eagle Downtown Development Authority.
  • Englewood: $70 million to finance objectives in any Englewood Downtown Development Authority plan of development.
  • Glenwood Springs: $8 million for capital projects related to the municipal airport.
  • Haxtun: $1.5 million for street improvements.
  • Julesburg: $2.5 million for a public pool.
  • Louisville: $51.4 million for transportation improvements.
  • Westminster: $15 million for parks and open space projects, and a second question to authorize $25 million for public safety.

Marijuana

Marijuana taxes are being considered in De Beque, Fort Lupton, Idaho Springs, Lakewood, Las Animas and Yuma.

Marijuana businesses are on the ballot in:

  • Brighton: The question being considered will authorize both marijuana business and a marijuana sales tax should it pass.
  • Golden: Retail stores, contingent on the approval of a marijuana tax in a separate question
  • Lamar: Medical and retail stores, cultivation, manufacturing and testing, contingent on the approval of marijuana taxes in a separate question.
  • Mead: Medical and retail businesses
  • Wellington: Medical and retail stores, with a separate tax question on the ballot.
  • Westminster: Marijuana businesses, contingent on the approval of a marijuana tax in a separate question.
  • Wray: Voters will consider allowing marijuana manufacturing facilities and authorizing an excise tax in a combined question. 

Other issues

  • Milliken and Windsor are seeking approval to join 116 municipalities already exempted by local voters from the statutory restriction on providing broadband or telecommunications services that also prohibits most uses of municipal funding for infrastructure to improve local broadband or telecommunications services.
  • Greenwood Village is requesting an amendment to the charter to delete the reference to a legal newspaper with regard to publication requirements and instead establish publication requirements by ordinance.
  •  Aspen is requesting an exchange of public property for a conservation easement.
  • Boulder has an initiative to prohibit the sale and manufacture for sale of certain fur products and another to require an election approving the annexation agreement for land known as CU South.
  • Cherry Hills Village is requesting the organization of general improvement district, with the authorization of debt and levy of property tax.
  • Lyons is requesting the permitting the construction of a solar generation and battery storage facility on town property.
  • Wiggins is asking for the sale of public property.

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