Ballots due next Tuesday

Voting takes place at Town Hall between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

Election Day is next Tuesday, April 5, and with eight trustee candidates vying for four open seats, there are good options to choose who’ll represent the town for the next four years.

Initially, 10 Berthoud residents were running for five open seats in the Town of Berthoud Board of Trustees election: Only one, Pete Cowdin, is running for the position of mayor and is the only option on the ballot. Cowdin will replace outgoing mayor, David Gregg, who chose to not seek re-election after serving 12 years on the board.

The remaining candidates include former trustee Jeff Hindman and current interim trustee, Dick Shepard, along with William Karspeck, Kevin Pischke, Patrick Dillon, Kelly Dunkelberger, Lorna Greene and Brian Laak.

Brian Young applied for a trustee position and remains on the ballot despite having pulled out of the election due to work-related responsibilities.

The eight are vying for four remaining seats of outgoing trustees Jan Dowker, Suzie White, Paul Alaback and Michael Henning. Henning’s seat is currently filled by Shepard, who was appointed to the board in November.

Of the candidates running, the four receiving the highest number of votes will be elected to the board and will be sworn in at the trustee’s April 12 meeting.

Candidates are running for a four-year term for three seats. However, the seat currently held by Shepard will only be a two-year term to fill the remaining time of Henning’s term. The candidate elected to the board with the fewest votes will fill the remainder of Henning’s term.

The April 5 election will take place at town hall. Over 1,000 residents have already been mailed absentee ballots, according to Town Clerk Alissa Darrow.

Each elected trustee is paid $75 for each regular board meeting, special board meeting, or board study session which they attend. In addition, the mayor is also compensated $115 per month.

Along with selecting new trustees, voters will also be asked to keep the current mill levy passed by voters in 2006 at three mills on taxable properties within town limits. The revenues through the mill levy would continue to pay for law enforcement services provided by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. The current mill levy is set to expire at the end of this year.

The second issue facing voters will be to adopt a three-percent lodging tax on short-term rentals, such as hotel rooms, with the revenues going into the town’s general fund.

The town has received several inquiries regarding the 2016 Election ballots that were mailed mid-March. Apparently the ballots don’t fit entirely into the secrecy sleeve, leaving the sleeve unable to be sealed. However, according to Berthoud Deputy Town Clerk Tamiko Brewster, this isn’t an issue and won’t affect the ballots at all. Brewster clarified that, according to Colorado state statute, secrecy sleeves aren’t required for absentee ballots.

Voters can choose not to use the secrecy sleeve, placing the ballot into the return envelope and return or mail the ballot back to the town, or voters can place the ballot into the secrecy sleeve and, without sealing the sleeve, place both into the return envelope, seal the envelope and return the ballot. Either way is acceptable and both will be valid.

Initially, the town told voters to not make any additional folds to the ballots as that would invalidate the ballots. However, according to Town Administrator Mike Hart, ballots that have additional folds won’t be able to pass through the ballot machine but there are alternative methods to counting the votes that will be utilized in this situation. The town sent out a message to voters that the town’s attorney assured them all ballots will be counted regardless of an additional fold. State statutes provide for a situation whereby ballots that cannot pass through the machine can be counted by hand by election judges.

Voters can drop off their ballots during normal business hours between now and 7 p.m. on April 5. Absentee ballots can are no longer be mailed out, but registered voters can still pick up ballots at town hall.

Voters are encouraged to contact town hall with questions at 970-532-2643.

Videos of each candidate can be viewed online at Berthoudsurveyor.com under the “Election 2016” tab.