Ordinance 1265 officially defeated after recount completed

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

The official results for ordinance 1265 are in and the measure was voted down by an extremely close margin – two votes.

The official results of the ballot election held last month for the ordinance were made public last Tuesday, Sept. 24, after the extremely close results triggered an automatic recount. Additionally, ballots from residents living overseas were given a grace period to be counted, and several signatures needed to be verified. Voters, from whom verification was required, were notified and given the opportunity to verify their ballot. The final count, 1216 in favor of the ordinance and 1218 against.

On Sept. 10, when the unofficial results were made public, Town Clerk Christian Samora said there most likely would be some changes to the official count. The unofficial count was a slim margin of only four votes in favor of the ordinance – 1212 voting yes to passing the ordinance, and 1208 voting no prior to the additional votes and signature verifications being included in the count.

Last November Berthoud citizens were asked to vote on whether they wanted the town to purchase a bond for $30 million to be used to build a recreation center. The bond failed as more voters said no they did not want to take on that debt than said they did want the town to take on that debt.

By December 2018 the town found another way for the recreation center to be funded and built, called Certificates of Participation (COP). Legally these do not require citizen’s vote of approval as the bond did. This action became a rallying point for the initial petition effort and subsequent “Democracy Berthoud” committee who campaigned in support of ordinance 1265.

Supporters of the ordinance wanted to limit the authority of the board of trustees in their ability to incur any type of financial obligation or debt in excess of $2 million without the approval of three fourths of the trustees. They also wanted voters’ voices to take precedent over finding other means of financing, as in the case with the recreation center, within two years of a vote on a matter.

Opponents claimed the ordinance would tie the hands of the trustees unduly and would lead to unintended consequences like dealing with the financial ramifications of a natural disaster. Opponents also expressed their desire to build a recreation center as soon as possible for what they see as the good of the community. 

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