At its regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 3, the Crawford Town Council began discussions of possible taxing questions to place before voters in the April 3 municipal election. These discussions were suspended to allow further research, and will be resumed on Wednesday, Jan. 17, prior to the regularly scheduled work session.
The council began talking about municipal taxes when Chriss Watters mentioned that he had looked at a publication from the Colorado Municipal League about the various taxes established in all of the municipalities in the state. Former mayor Jim Crook pointed out that the City of Delta was bringing a question to the voters in April which would authorize the city of collect sale tax on retail marijuana sales, although such sales are currently prohibited.
Mayor Wanda Gofforth noted she had talked to the town attorney about putting a similar measure before Crawford voters. "We don't allow marijuana sales, but it would enable the town to collect taxes if it should ever be allowed."
A rumored petition to place a question on the municipal ballot in April to allow retail marijuana sales has not been presented to the town for approval. Council members believe it unlikely such a petition could be presented, approved, circulated and signed before the Jan. 22 deadline.
Gofforth also asked council if it wanted to put another mill levy question on the ballot. Crawford voters have turned down mill levy increases in the past two elections.
Council member Hetty Todd quickly stated she was not in favor of another mill levy question at this time.
Chris Johnson added, "Having one meeting to talk about this ... I hate making these kinds of decisions that quickly. It does not seem prudent." He asked if a tax question could be placed on the November ballot. Gofforth said it could, but it would be an additional expense for the town to conduct the local election.
The talk shifted back to taxing marijuana sales. As the council and the audience weighed it, it became clear there were questions regarding the differences between excise, use and sales tax and how much the town is allowed to tax medical and recreational marijuana sales.
The mayor suggested the meeting could be suspended and reconvened on Jan. 17. This would allow time for the town attorney to come up with a possible question to consider. If council acts that night, it would be able to meet the Jan. 22 deadline to place it on the April ballot.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.