Along with high-profile campaigns for statewide and federal offices, Colorado voters this fall are deciding on a lot of local issues that may not be getting much attention beyond their own city limits.
Many those have to do with marijuana -- whether to allow recreational marijuana at all, and if so, how to set sales taxes and store hours.
The Colorado Municipal League, which follows local elections, counts around 20 separate ballot questions on recreational marijuana. This year is the first chance many communities have had to put pot questions on the ballot since Colorado's Amendment 64 legalizing recreational marijuana passed in 2o12. There may not be so many in future elections, said the League's Rachel Allen.
"I'm sure we'll still have issues with marijuana, but hopefully we'll have some clear direction on the particular issue of whether or not different communities are allowing it or prohibiting the retail marijuana," she says.
Other measures on many local ballots involve TABOR - Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights. It limits how state and local governments can raise taxes and borrow money, and when such questions can go before voters. Allen says nearly 30 Colorado cities and towns have TABOR issues on their ballots this year.
Here are some other measures on local ballots:
- Aurora: Voters are being asked whether to repeal the city's nine-year-old ban on pitbulls.
- Basalt: The ballot includes a question on whether to impose a 5 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana sales.
- Boulder County: Voters are being asked for a slight increase in the sales and use tax to pay for flood recovery, especially road repair. They also will be asked for a property tax increase to fund health and human services programs.
- City of Boulder: Another ballot question asks to approve a sales tax increase for three years to generate $28 million to pay for cultural and safety improvements.
- Boulder Valley School District: Voters are being asked to approve a $500 million bond for school construction.
- Denver: Voters are being asked to renew a sales tax increase to fund preschool.
- El Paso County: A ballot question before voters asks if they want to exceed TABOR caps for revenue for trails and open space.
- Larimer County: A tax question for open space is on the ballot, which would extend the current tax that is credited with preserving 43,000 acres of land, as well as a ballot question on funding a new animal shelter.
- Manitou Springs: Voters are being asked whether they want to ban recreational marijuana sales just a few months after they began.
- Ouray: The ballot includes questions on whether to allow recreational pot sales and whether to impose a city sales tax on those sales if approved.
- Summit County: A property tax increase, if approved by voters, would provide almost $30 million over eight years for water quality and emergency services.
CPR's Jenny Brundin recently talked with Colorado Matters about a number of ballot initiatives about school funding. That story can be found here.