Grand County 2021 Voter Guide
Grand County voters will be deciding on a number of issues this November from tax increases to school board memberships. Ballots were mailed out last week and Election Day is Nov. 2.
Drop off boxes are located at the county admin building in Hot Sulphur Springs, the CSU Extension Office in Kremmling, the Grand Lake town hall, the Granby town hall and the Grand Park Recreation Center in Fraser.
In-person voting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays from Oct. 25 through Nov. 1 on the top floor of the county admin building, as well as 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Draft ballots and election information are available at GrandVotes.org.
With so many property tax questions across the county, here’s a quick guide to determine how much a mill levy will impact your property taxes. The figures referenced in this article have already done this math for residential properties.
• Go to the Grand County Assessor Page at https://assessor.co.grand.co.us/assessor/web/ and enter your address.
• In the top right corner, you will see assessment history and, below that, a number denoting the “actual value” of your property as determined by the assessor.
• Below that is the “assessed” value of your property. This is the value that the mill levy tax is based on. In Colorado, residential properties are assessed at 7.15% of the actual value while commercial and other properties are assessed at 27%.
• Each mill is 1/1,000 of a dollar, so one mill can be written as 0.001. Take the proposed mill levy (for example, 2.5 mills) and move the decimal over three spaces (0.0025).
• Take the assessed value of your property and multiply it by the decimal amount to find out the tax impact on your property.
Grand County Emergency Medical Services is asking to increase taxes by 1.75 mills, providing the department about $1.65 million more annually, to maintain their standard of care.
If passed, this would be EMS’s first mill levy increase since the tax was established in 2003. The increase would cost residential property owners $12.51 more a year per $100,000 of property value.
The funds are meant to address the growing needs of Grand County with an additional ambulance, six more full-time staff members, a wage increase for existing employees and the repair or replacement of two aging EMS stations in Granby and Fraser.
To learn more about EMS’s proposal and plans for the funds, go to http://www.co.grand.co.us/167/Emergency-Medical-Services.
These ballot questions ask Grand County voters if they would like to reinstate term limits for six of the elected offices at the county government level.
Currently, only Grand County commissioners are limited to three four-year terms.The clerk and recorder, treasurer, assessor, sheriff, surveyor and coroner must be re-elected every four years, but currently face no term limits.
With the measure, for any offices that voters decide to term limit, individuals would be restricted to three four-year terms beginning on or after Jan. 1. The measure would not be retroactive, so currently serving officials would still be able to serve three more terms following their current tenure.
By law, these elected officials are independent of each other and from the county commissioners. Their powers and duties are defined by the state constitution, and in Grand County the officials tend to stay in those roles for a while.
County Surveyor Warren Ward and Clerk Sara Rosene have held their positions for nearly 30 years while Assessor Tom Weydert and Coroner Brenda Bock have held their roles for almost 15.
The newest elected officials in Grand County, besides the commissioners, are Sheriff Brett Schroetlin, who began his tenure in 2015, and Treasurer Frank DeLay, who was elected last November.
EAST GRAND SCHOOL DISTRICT
Three East Grand Board of Education positions are up for election this November. However, only one office will be competitive. Each position is for four years.
Director District 3 will see Ed Raegner versus Deborah Relyea. Raegner was formerly the East Grand School Board president, but had to step down after discovering his home sat just outside the director district.
Incumbent Chris Raines was the only official in Director District 2 to run this year, while no one ran for Director District 6. The school board will appoint someone to the District 6 office following the election, once they find a candidate to fill the role.
The East Grand School District wants voter approval to invest $85 million into capital improvements, including the construction of a new Granby Elementary School.
To finance the bond, district taxes will increase up to $7.1 million annually for the next 20 years. That means an individual homeowner would pay $44.48 more in taxes yearly per $100,000 of value.
The bond money would be dedicated toward the capital projects outlined in the ballot question, including land acquisition and a new Granby Elementary School with room for future growth. East Grand Superintendent Frank Reeves has previously stated that Granby Elementary has reached its capacity and has no space for any additional classes.
The bond would not only finance the new elementary school. The money would also be used for upgrades toward safety, security and America with Disabilities Act compliant upgrades, physical improvements and renovations at the other three schools, a facility for a new career and technical skills program, and a space for student mental health counseling and school nurse services.
WEST GRAND SCHOOL DISTRICT
School District Offices
West Grand’s school board has nine candidates vying for five offices, each with a four-year term. Incumbent President Shawn Lechman, incumbent Vice President Mitch Lockhart and incumbent member Gordon Stuart Heller are running along with H. Lee Bruchez, Brad Probst, Ralph Graves, Jackie Roppel, Wes Howell and Bryan Klotz.
Check out next week’s Sky-Hi News for profiles on the East Grand and West Grand school board candidates.
This ballot measure would increase West Grand’s taxes by 4.525 mills, raising an additional $550,000 for the district to be used for infrastructure and salaries.
If passed, measure 5A would increase yearly taxes on a $100,000 private property by $32.35 a year. The school board would then work to decide how to allocate the funds to address both deferred maintenance and salary needs.
The district has not detailed how the funds would be split between staff pay and capital needs, but the superintendent has warned the district will have to make some hard decisions without additional funds.
GRAND FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT NO.1
The Grand Fire Protection District, facing an increase in calls and struggling revenues, is also asking for a mill levy increase. The 152-square-mile district serves Granby and surrounding areas.
Combining the district’s current mills and bond debt, taxpayers in the fire district currently pay 8.25 mills on their property to the fire district. The bond debt of 3.8 mills ends in 2025, so Grand Fire is asking to go to 10 mills total for the district.
If passed, Ballot Issue 6A would roll the bond debt into the department’s operating budget instead of letting it expire, along with giving the district an additional 1.75 mills in revenue.
The additional cost to residential property would be $12.19 per $100,000. This would raise an additional $341,000 for Grand Fire annually, which would go toward capital upgrades, fire prevention and personnel costs.
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