No tax increase for fire district


By Reid Wright

Journal Staff Writer

A ballot issue for a 3.5 mill property tax increase for the Cortez Fire District died with 1,075 voting for the measure and 1,471 voting against after initial ballot counting in a special district election held Tuesday.

“I am a little disappointed but we gave it a good shot,” said Jeff Vandevoorde, district fire chief. “We’re just going to continue moving forward.”

The approximately $500,000 in revenue anticipated from the tax increase would have gone to firefighter protective gear, new fire trucks and the staffing of additional paid firefighters.

Critics of the increase said the fire district was adequate as a volunteer department and the increase was not needed.

Due to the big ticket items, the district will continue to pursue grants and future mill levy increases, Vandevoorde said. He thanked those who supported the district and invites questions and visits from the public.

Six special district board seats were also filled in the election.

According to uncertified results, former Cortez mayor Orly Lucero won a four-year seat on the Cortez Fire Protection District board with a comfortable 1,530 votes. Cortez dispatch supervisor Lori Johnson will also join the board for four years with 898 votes.

Incumbent James “Jim” Bridgewater will return to the board for a two-year term having netted 938 votes.

Jim Candelaria landed a four-year seat on the Cortez Sanitation District Board of Directors with 1,026 votes. Appointed board member John Stramel will return to the board for four more years with 800 votes.

David Kimble ran uncontested for a two-year seat, receiving 941 votes.

Out of 10,763 ballots mailed out, 2,740 or roughly 25 percent were returned. There were approximately 115 spoiled ballots. Voters who did not sign the envelope on their ballot have until Monday to do so.

Reach Reid Wright at

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