Berthoud sales tax increase, Thompson schools property tax increase approved by voters

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

Tuesday’s election results demonstrated voters in Berthoud, by a very slim margin, want more amenities for parks and recreation, including a proposed recreation center to be built at the Waggener Farm Park property, and are willing to pay higher sales taxes for it. Berthoud ballot measure 3I passed by a 50.8 to 49.2-percent margin. As of Wednesday morning, 1,868 votes were cast in favor of 3I and 1,808 in opposition. The measure will impose a one-percent sales tax increase on goods and services purchased in the town, including the new Love’s Truck Stop and TPC Colorado golf course. The measure was approved for inclusion on the ballot in late August by a 4-3 vote by the Berthoud Town Board.

Berthoud ballot issue 3K also passed by 72.2 to 28.8- percent (as of Wednesday morning) margin. The measure allows the town to re-appropriate funds from an already-existing sales tax that has been in place since 1997 and use the funds exclusively for parks and recreation projects, including trails expansion. Proposed ballot measure 3J, which sought $30 million in the sale of bonds (with an expected repayment cost of $59 million) also to be used for parks and recreation amenities, was rejected by Berthoud voters by a 54.7 to 45.3-percent margin.

Ballot measure 7B for the Berthoud Fire Protection District was also approved by voters by 67.4 to 32.6 percent. The measure allows Berthoud Fire a bypass a provision in the Gallagher Amendment so as to maintain adequate funding levels to provide fire, emergency medical and rescue services. Berthoud voters also approved ballot measure 3L which allows the town to annex a small parcel of land (6.259 acres) near Lonetree Reservoir. The measure was approved by a 64.5 to 35.5-percent margin.

On the Berthoud ballot measures, Berthoud Trustee Pete Tomassi said in a statement to the Surveyor, “The residents of Berthoud sent a resounding message to town hall yesterday with their votes: they want upgraded and improved recreational amenities and they don’t want to go into debt to obtain them. They also expressed their love for our students and teachers with the passage of 5A and 5B and their admiration for our fire fighters by approving 7B.”

Also of concern to Berthoud residents was the proposed ballot measures 5A and 5B for the Thompson School District. Ballot measure 5A asked voters to approve a mill-levy override (MLO) to draw in $13.6 million annually with increased property taxes, an increase of 7.6 mills, while 5B asked voters to approve a debt increase, covered by the sale of $149 million in bonds, with a repayment cost of $265.4 million. Measure 5A passed by a 59.4 to 40.4-percent margin and 5B passed by a 58.4 to 41.6-percent margin.

Under 5A, the district will plan to use funds for four distinct purposes: to maintain the current class sizes and teacher-student ratio, increase the compensation for faculty and staff to attract and retain high-quality employees, update textbooks, curriculum, materials and technology resources and instructional programs, and increasing and upgrading student security in school buildings, which includes expanding the student resource officer program.

For issue 5B, the proposal is to upgrade school-building safety, security and fire-alarm systems, build and furnish a new kindergarten through eighth grade school that will be located on the east side of Interstate 25 (near the Thompson River Ranch development south of state Highway 34), add classrooms to Ivy Stockwell and Berthoud Elementary, and expand the useful life of current school buildings by upgrading and improving heating, ventilation and cooling systems, mechanical controls, windows, roofing, doors, and upgrading obsolete technology.

Berthoud resident Gail Schumacher, co-chair of the Vote Yes for Thompson Students group that supported the measures and actively campaigned for their passage told the Surveyor, “I could not be happier about the results of 5A and 5B. These results are a great example of what happens when many people work together to help educate the public, get out there and hand out well-defined information, and be available at many venues to gain the trust and respect of the voters. I think these two measures are really going to boost not only the teachers’ morale, but encourage all the Thompson School District students to realize they do matter to our community. I hope to see fewer of our great teachers and staff leave our district and look forward to seeing all our buildings get desperately-needed maintenance and security upgrades the bond will provide.”

Dave Levy, who sits on the Thompson Board of Education, told the Surveyor, “I am of course very pleased both the bond and MLO passed. To be an outstanding school district we must be able to attract and retain great teachers, provide reasonable class sizes with an updated, current curriculum. The MLO will allow us to do so. The bond will allow us to catch up on maintenance that was deferred too long and provide a seat for every student close by where they live. The four additional class rooms at Ivy Stockwell and Berthoud Elementary respectively, will directly address that issue. The school board and district appreciate the confidence the voters have placed in us, and we are committed to using their tax dollars wisely and cost effectively.”

Larimer County voters also approved a sales-tax increase of 0.25 percent under ballot measure 1A for the construction and support of a new mental health facility, planned to be located in the southwestern portion of Fort Collins. The county argued current mental-health support needs are inadequate and will only worsen as Larimer County’s population continues to grow. The measure was approved 61.3 to 38.7 percent.

State-wide ballot measure results, listed on the left side of this page, include the following.

  • Amendment A (passed)removes a provision in the Colorado Constitution that stated slavery or involuntary servitude could be used as punishment for a crime.
  • Amendment V (rejected)would have reduced the age for serving in the Colorado General Assembly from 25 years old to 21 years old.
  • Amendment W (passed)changes the way judicial retention elections are presented on the ballot. Judicial retention elections will now be listed under a single question rather than separately.
  • Amendment X (passed) changes the legal definition of industrial hemp from a constitutional to a statutory definition, removing the language formerly included regarding industrial hemp from Amendment 64.
  • Amendment Y (passed) – changes how districts for Colorado’s congressional seats are drawn; establishes an independent citizens committee to draw district lines; Colorado is expected to gain one or even two seats after the 2020 census.
  • Amendment Z (passed) – changes how districts for the Colorado State House of Representatives are drawn; establishes an independent citizens committee to draw district lines.
  • Amendment 73 (rejected) – would have raised taxes and created a progressive income tax system in Colorado and used the added revenue for K-12 public education.
  • Amendment 74 (rejected) – would have required the government to compensate property owners should a government regulation prevent the property owner from reaping monetary benefits for resources on or under their land.
  • Amendment 75 (rejected) would have changed campaign finance limits for candidates running in races where an opponent provides more one million dollars of their own money to the campaign.
  • Proposition 109 (rejected) – would have required the state to increase debt by $3.5 billion without raising taxes or fees to fund transportation projects, also known as “fix our damn roads.” 
  • Proposition 110 (rejected) would have imposed a state-wide sales tax of 0.62 percent to fund road construction and public mass-transit projects.
  • Proposition 111 (approved) establishes limits for interest and fees charged by short-term, often called “pay-day” lenders.
  • Proposition 112 (rejected) – would have established a minimum distance requirement for oil and gas extraction operations to 2500 feet from a wide array of buildings, open space and natural lands.
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