Western Slope Communities Say Yes To Broadband, Other Election Results

Nov 4, 2015

Voters across the Western Slope overwhelming approved broadband measures. 

Communities across the region asked residents to opt-out of Senate Bill 152. The decade-old state law prevents local governments from providing internet services or spending money on broadband infrastructure unless residents overturn it.  

Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Voters in Gunnison, Delta and Ouray Counties approved opt-out measures. Residents in Crested Butte, Paonia, Hotchkiss, Crawford, Cedaredge, Delta, Ridgway, Ouray and Telluride also passed similar ballot issues.  

Michelle Haynes, the executive director of Region 10, says opting-out of SB 152 is the first step communities need to take in order to pursue broadband improvement projects.

Region 10 is spearheading a regional effort to improve broadband access in the six counties it serves.

"We are pleased to see that our communities understand how important this is for economic development across the Western Slope," says Haynes. "We think that there's a clear indication that they feel this is really an important service to help us stay competitive and to continue to move forward."

Preliminary Regional Election Results

Delta County 

Jill Jurca won the election for the Delta County School Board District 2 seat. She beat challenger Genevieve Novinger. The North Fork Water Conservancy District ballot question passed. It allows the district to mix its two mill levy funds and collect state grants. Additionally, residents of Cedaredge shot down a half-cent sales tax increase for recreation infrastructure and improvements. 

Montrose County

A mill levy increase for the Montrose Regional Library District didn't pass. However, voters in Norwood approved a mill levy increase to support emergency medical services.  It’s estimated the levy will raise an additional $113,000 for ambulatory services in the area.

Ouray County

County residents approved a 5 percent marijuana excise tax, but said to no to a term limit extension for county commissioners. Ridgway voters approved an increase to the town’s lodging tax from $2 per night to an excise tax of 3.5 percent.  Voters reelected Pam Larson as the mayor of Ouray. Larson defeated challenger Eli Doose. Bette Maurer was reelected to the Ouray City Council. She beat challenger Dawn Glanc. Additionally, voters in Ouray also approved a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund capital improvement projects and a measure to allow the city to purchase bonds to help pay for renovations to the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. 

San Miguel County

In San Miguel County, voters approved term limits for county commissioners. Starting Jan. 1, 2017, commissioners can only serve two consecutive terms. Residents of Telluride also elected Sean Murphy as mayor. The Daily Planet reports, Murphy is the town’s first openly gay mayor. He takes over for Stu Fraser who held the office for eight years. Lars Carlson and DeLanie Young were also elected to the town council. 

Hinsdale County

In Hinsdale County, voters rejected a mill levy increase to help the school district build a gymnasium. 

For detailed election result visit the Colorado Secretary of State's website

Editor's Note: This story will be updated as results come in.