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Mostly, it was Just Say No on November 4

Brief by Central Staff

Politics – December 2003 – Colorado Central Magazine

In this off-year election, Central Colorado voters mirrored the rest of the state.

There were three statewide issues on the ballot. All were defeated, and none came anywhere close to passing up here. The major difference between us and the rest of the state was the margin of the no vote — we were more emphatic.

Amendment 32, which would have changed the taxing ratio of residential property, went down 697,122 to 201,098, or 77.6% to 22.4%. In our neck of the woods, it was more like 80% to 20%.

Amendment 33, which proposed installing slot machines at five Front Range race tracks, with $25 million of the annual proceeds going to promote tourism, went down 761,740 to 179,256, or 81% to 19% state-wide, and local reponse was much the same. The counties most opposed to the slot machines were those that already have casinos: 90.8% of Teller County voters voted against it, as did 90.5% of Gilpin County.

Referendum A, which proposed borrowing up to $2 billion for unspecified water projects, went down by a 2-1 margin statewide. San Juan County was the most opposed with 92.6% against Referendum A, but Gunnison was a close second at 91.9% in opposition. In general, Central Colorado and the San Luis Valley were about 80-20 against A.

But the pattern stops there; we were all over the map on local issues, with some passing and others soundly defeated.

The public library in Westcliffe will get a bigger budget, thanks to a mill-levy increase approved by voters (711 to 411) in the West Custer County Library District. The tax rate will nearly double from 1.069 mills to 1.965 mills, with the annual proceeds rising from $65,000 to $120,000.

In Lake County, three school-related issues passed: a mill-levy over-ride for increased budgets, a bond issue, and de-Brucing. It was the first time since 1972 that a school bond issue has passed in Lake County.

Elsewhere in Central Colorado, though, “just say no” was the winning campaign phrase. Chaffee County voters turned down a proposal to levy a use tax on out-of-county vehicle sales, with the proceeds going to purchase local water rights.

In Gunnison County, a proposed indoor swimming pool complex was defeated 1,803-954, and in Park County, voters turned down six county measures; most would have raised taxes.

Amendendments 32 and 33 voting
Amendment 32 Amendment 33
Alamosa 788 2,293 776 2,403
Chaffee 1,100 4,627 920 4,443
Conejos 274 1,253 243 1,329
Costilla 223 655 255 684
Custer 214 1,028 183 1,086
Gunnison 1,114 2,560 1,086 2,869
Lake 468 1,240 521 1,307
Mineral 59 200 48 214
Park 506 2,475 609 2,508
Rio Grande 561 1,803 518 1,893
Saguache 317 1,069 304 1,105
Total 5,264 19,203 5,463 19,841
Percentage 22.7% 77.3% 21.6% 78.4%
Statewide 201,098 697,122 179,256 761,740
Percentage 22.4% 77.6% 19.0% 81.0%