|Ballots will start to go out next week and what should have been a sleepy election year has turned into major political crisis with all three Custer County Commissioners up for recall. Adding additional weight to the ballot, a $4.7 million dollar bond issue question for the Custer County School’s aging infrastructure. Plus, should Custer County add building codes to match existing codes in Westcliffe and Silver Cliff?
On Tuesday, County Clerk Kelley Camper talked about what items will be on the ballot for voters. “First, ballots are required by law to go out the week of October 16. We will probably starting mailing towards the latter half of the week.”
In an effort to make returning ballots easier, a new drive-through ballot return box has been installed behind the Courthouse. “Citizens can now drop off ballots easier and without coming into the courthouse,” explained Camper.
While returning ballots is easy, the decisions voters need to make are not.
The majority of the space of the ballot is dedicated to the recall of the three current County Commissioners: Bob Kattnig, Jay Printz and Donna Hood. The ballot wording explains both the recall reasoning plus personal statements from each of the commissioners, highlighting a defense of why they should be retained.
After the voter reads the statements, a box at the bottom of each asks “Yes or No.” A section for the Successor Candidates in each district follows each of the recall ballot questions.
The successor candidates that made it on the ballot are as follows: District 1, William R. (Bill) Canda. District 2, Sandra K. Attebery. District 3, Christopher L. (Kit) Shy, Tommy G. Flower, and John G. Johnston.
Lost in the political fray is Ballot Question 1A which asks voters if Custer County should move forward on matching the 2005 International Building and Fire Codes that already exist in Westcliffe and Silver Cliff. If passed, the Building and Planning Commission would start work on a resolution to implement the codes and that also grandfather-in existing structures.
One of the biggest financial decisions is a $4.7 million dollar bond issue that could have a total repayment of $7.9 million and add nearly $475,000 to the yearly school budget. This bond issue would be more than matched by a $6.46 million BEST grant that does not have to be repaid and all monies would be used to fix and update the existing school building and grounds.
Last but not least, are the Custer County and Fremont County School Board elections. For most residents of Custer County, they will vote on a District 1 unopposed candidate James C. Parkes Jr., District 4 candidates Robert Jolley, Mike Beniot, or Doreen Newcomb, and District 5 unopposed Theresa (Terre) Davis.
For residents in and around Wetmore, they will vote for the Fremont County Re-2 School Board: District E unopposed Andy Franklin, and District F unopposed Linda Schmidt.
For more information on the election or to check voter registration, contact the Custer County Clerk’s Office at 783-2441 or check registration status at www.vote.org
- Jordan Hedberg