District board elections set for Tuesday

Voters to also decide on tax increase to support fire district

Keywords: Politics,

The 2012 Cortez Sanitation District and Cortez Fire Protection District election is Tuesday.

Ballots for both elections must be received by 7 p.m. Tuesday at the fire district administration building, 23 North Washington St. in Cortez. The office will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, as well as from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday.

“Please make sure that you sign the voter affirmation on the outside of the envelope,” said Wendy Mimiaga, election official. Ballots without signed envelopes might not be accepted, she said. Voters who forgot to sign their envelope before turning in their ballot may still do so at the administration building.

Additionally, those voters who did not receive a ballot and feel they should have, should call 565-3157 or stop by the above address.

This year’s ballot features one initiative, a 3.5 mill property tax increase for the fire district on top of the current 6.59 mill. This would translate to an annual increase of $41.79 in property taxes for the owner of a $150,000 property and $69.65 per year increase for the owner of a $250,000 property.

Cortez Fire Chief Jeff Vandevoorde said revenues from the proposed increase would go to additional manpower, safety equipment for firefighters and the replacement of outdated vehicles.

“If it doesn’t get approved, we’re still going to be responding to calls, we’re just going to have to look at what we can buy and what we can’t buy,” he said. “We might look at a reduction in our manpower and look at decreasing our on-duty staffing.”

This would translate to longer response times, he said.

Critics of the increase say the department was adequate as a volunteer department and the increase is not needed.

Nine candidates are running for three positions on the fire district board. The four candidates vying for a two-year seat on the board are Larry Sharp, Scott Anderson, Jerry Ayers and incumbent James Bridgewater. Running for the one open four-year seat are Lori Johnson, David Lindhorst, Patricia DeGagne-Rule, Orly Lucero and John Garcia. DeGagne-Rule is the incumbent.

More information on the fire board candidates is available online at http://tinyurl.com/cduezrk.

The Cortez Sanitation District has four candidates, all from construction and development backgrounds.

Three candidates are running for two four-year seats on the sanitation board, including Jim Candelaria, Don Etnier and incumbent John Stramel. David Kimble is running uncontested for a two-year seat on the sanitation board.

Although a lawsuit was filed by Etnier alleging Candelaria is not eligible for the board, a judge ruled Wednesday that the suit was premature and those elected to the board may be challenged within 10 days after the election.

More information on the sanitation board candidates is available at http://tinyurl.com/bnyh5lo.

Reach Reid Wright at reidw@cortezjournal.com