By Renee Rinehart –(Published: Oct. 12, 2017) Ballots will be mailed to registered voters in Huerfano County starting Monday, October 16 for the 2017 Coordinated Election.
Voters countywide will be asked to increase funding for the District Attorney’s office, while Walsenburg voters will decide mayor, city council seats and a question to add an excise tax to marijuana. Additionally, voters in the Huerfano Re-1 School District will choose new members of the Board of Education.
Ballot Question 1A asks voters to approve a one-half cent sales and use tax to increase funding for the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The new taxes are estimated to generate $275,000 to fund the district attorney’s office and additional taxes collected over that amount will be used “solely for public safety purposes.”
The county currently charges two percent sales tax, with one percent earmarked for emergency dispatch.
If passed, a newly created use tax in Huerfano County will be collected on large purchases made outside the county and used within the county, such as the purchase of an automobile.
District Attorney Henry Solano said in recent public meetings he heard from residents who were fed up with the “revolving door” that returns felons to our neighborhoods. With more funding, the DA claims he will prosecute more cases instead of offering plea bargains.
Voters in the City of Walsenburg will elect a mayor and council members. Incumbent Mayor Jim Eccher, who has served four years over two terms, will run for a third and final term this November. Eccher is challenged by Craig Lessar, who serves on Council representing Ward 2, and is now term-limited from his council seat.
Council seats in Ward 1 and Ward 3 will see incumbents Clint Boehler and Charles Montoya running unopposed, while a race is on for Lessar’s seat in Ward 2. Candidates Brian Lalander and James Hudgens will run for the vacant seat in Ward 2. No candidates are running for the other seat in Ward 3, leaving a vacant for council appointment after the election.
In addition to the city council seats, Walsenburg voters will also be asked to approve a five percent excise tax on the sale and transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana.
Huerfano Re-1 School Board, covering Walsenburg, Gardner and surrounding areas, has three seat open and seven candidates.