OPINION – No complaining
Last Tuesday night, the unofficial results of the 2022 Town of Berthoud Municipal election were released.
We at the Surveyor were disappointed.
We were not disappointed with the results of the election – we are sure that new Trustees Karl Ayers and Sean Murphy and re-elected incumbent Trustee Tim Hardy will do fine jobs serving our community. We applaud the three winners and we commend runners-up Ryan Berry, Alex Johnson and Ellyn Rush for putting themselves before their friends and neighbors for a chance serve their community as Town Trustees.
What we were disappointed with was the low turnout rate.
According to Larimer County Clerk Angela Myers, there are 8,678 registered voters in Berthoud. All of whom received ballots for this election.
Berthoud Town Clerk Christian Samora told us that only 1,688 ballots were received by the town by the 7 p.m. deadline last Tuesday.
That second figure represents a turnout rate of only 19.45%.
That is pathetic, Berthoud.
Fewer than one in five – ONE in FIVE – registered voters in town cast ballots.
The town is growing at a rapid pace. At each meeting of the Berthoud Board of Trustees, important matters are discussed, debated and, ultimately, decided upon. Those issues affect everyone in town. Every day.
The Board of Trustees make decisions on how to spend the windfall in tax revenue the growth has provided the town coffers.
The board issues guidance for construction and architectural standards for new developments.
The board approves and amends new and existing ordinances on everything from dog walking to trash collection to traffic codes.
The board decides to build, or not build, new amenities like parks, trails and recreation centers.
The board votes on whether to designate certain areas open and viable for commercial development.
The board decides how to allocate funding for police and fire protection services.
The board decides where and how to spend money on infrastructure repairs and upgrades on everything ranging from sidewalks to the water supply.
The board decides whether or not to partner with neighboring municipalities, with Larimer County and even with the State of Colorado to provide services and supplies.
Do you use the sidewalks? Do you drive your car around town? Do you want good policing, fire protection and emergency services? Do you care what the new neighborhood being built across from yours looks like? Do you not want it built? Do you want more retail and commercial options? Do you not want more shopping options? Did you want the rec center? Do you want the town to prioritize open space and build trails so you can walk and bike around town? Do you want a return to a few years ago when the town was broke?
It does not matter where you come down on any of these issues. But we are darn sure you – as an invested member of the community – have an opinion on these matters.
Does the Town of Berthoud municipal election get cable news talking heads yelling red-faced at their partisan viewers? No. But it does get community members on social media complaining about what the town has done or not done. The question is – did they vote?
The decisions the board makes have a much bigger impact on your day-to-day life than what is going on in Washington or even at the State Capitol in Denver.
Berthoud can do better. Much better. Our voters can do better. Our candidates can do better.
The next election is in April of 2024. There will be three open seats for Town Trustee and we will elect a new mayor.
Yes, 2024 is a presidential election year. But we will say this, no matter whether Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Kamala Harris, Ron DeSantis or …. Kanye West, is the next President of the United States, that election result will not impact your day to day life as a Berthoud citizen in the same way as will the makeup of our next Board of Trustees.
Do better, Berthoud.
And if you’re one of the four in five residents who didn’t vote last week, you probably shouldn’t complain about what actions (or inactions) this next version of the Town Board takes.
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