Voters in Rico and Dolores County went to the polls Tuesday to decide on a variety of ballot questions.
In Rico, Measure 2A to raise the mill levy was defeated. The measure proposed a 12.8 mill increase to generate $76,849 annually in new funding for public works needs. It would have been used for snow removal, road grading, dust control and equipment maintenance. The measure failed, with 51 voting against and 43 voting in favor.
Rico voted to approve Measure 2B, which increases the lodging tax from 1% to 7 %. The measure passed 75-19. Of the additional revenues raised, 80% will go to the town general fund, 10% will go to parks, open space and trails fund, and 10% will go to the street fund.
The election for Rico mayor and two open seats on the town board was uncontested. Nicole Pieterse was elected mayor. Chris Condon and Benn J. Vernadakis were elected to serve on town board.
Acting Rico Town Manager Kari Distefano said the lodging tax applies to a handful of short-term rentals and two hotels in town. She said the street fund in Rico is especially in need of financial support. The additional lodging taxes approved by voters will help some, but more funding is needed for long-term street maintenance in town, Distefano said.
Distefano plans to step down as Rico town manager after serving for more than three years to take a job closer to home. She is serving as acting manager until a new town manager comes on board, which is expected soon.
Voters in Dolores County voted to approve Ballot Issue 5A, which extended the 2022 expiration date for taxes approved in 2015 to protect funding to attract teachers and staff, support and expand opportunities for students through updated technology and textbooks, maintain district facilities. Issue 5A passed 482 to 323, or 60% to 40%.
Dolores County School District RE-2J Ballot Issue 5B was defeated. Issue 5B would have allowed the district debt to be increased $15.95 million, with a repayment cost of up to $23.9 million to replace the Seventh Street Elementary School in Dove Creek, improve student pickup and dropoff areas and address renovations and improvements to district facilities. Issue 5B was defeated 459 to 345, or 57% to 43%.
Also, Chase Davis was elected to the Dolores County School District board. He ran unopposed.
Voter turnout for Dolores County elections was 49%, with 825 ballots cast and 1,688 active voters.