Election day is approaching; ballots expected Tuesday

Local voters will have a ballot full of choices in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
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The midterm elections have not spared voters in the upper Roaring Fork Valley, who will have many decisions to make on Election Day.

Local voters have until 7 p.m. Tuesday to vote on tax and funding issues related to open spaces, ambulance services and vacation rentals. They will also compete for Pitkin County Sheriff, Mayor of Snowmass, the District 2 seat on the Board of County Commissioners, and several seats held by incumbents without contest.

State and federal contests are on the ballots, with control of the U.S. House and Senate at stake. Aspen resident Adam Frisch is the Democratic challenger to Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Silt, for the 3rd congressional district seat; Republican Joe O’Dea takes on Senator Michael Bennet; Heidi Ganahl is Republican challenger to Jared Polis in the gubernatorial race; Glenwood Springs Democrat Elizabeth Velasco hopes to unseat the state’s incumbent Republican Rep. Perry Will, who represents State House District 57. There are 11 state questions on the ballot.

Among the state ballot issues voters will weigh in on are affordable housing, healthy school lunches, wine in grocery stores, access to psychedelics, a cut in the state income tax rate. state, tax breaks for surviving owners of veterans and deceased military personnel. , and bingo-raffle licenses for non-profit organizations. Eight Colorado Court of Appeals judges will also be selected, as well as 9th Judicial District Judge John Fowler Neiley.

Early voting began Oct. 24 and continued Saturday at the Pitkin County Administration and Sheriff’s Office. Voters can vote at the Aspen Jewish Community Center, 435 W. Main St., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7 and 8.

Pitkin County voters can also vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Basalt Regional Library at 14 Midland Ave. and at the Snowmass Village Town Hall at 130 Kearns Road.

Locally, here’s a look at the local issues and candidates that Pitkin County voters will see on their ballots.

City of Aspen

Ballot number 2A (short-term rental tax) — This question asks whether customers of vacation rental properties will face a new tax of 5% on owner-occupied and lodge-exempt properties or 10% on properties used as investments or properties such as second homes which are not the main residence of the owner,

The tax increase is expected to generate $9,140,000 in revenue for the city in the first year. The city would allocate at least 70% of that money to fund affordable housing projects. The remaining 30% would go to infrastructure repairs and environmental protection initiatives.

Ballot Number 2B (Sales Tax Extension to Open Spaces and Trails) — Voters will decide whether the city should extend the 0.5% sales tax in perpetuity. Funds from the tax will go towards the ongoing purchase, maintenance and improvement of parks and outdoor spaces.

Aspen Ambulance District

Ballot number 6A — This question asks voters to raise the district factory fee to 1.10, which would equate to an annual property tax of $110 per $100,000 of a property’s assessed value. The proposal calls for a property tax increase of up to $2,443,901.

Aspen Valley Hospital contracts with the Aspen Ambulance District for its services, while Pitkin County Commissioners govern the district. The Ambulance District is its own taxing authority.

Town of Snowmass Village

Ballot 2C (expanding the use of taxpayers’ money) — Voters in Snowmass will vote on whether to approve a ballot measure that would divert some of the revenue generated from the town’s separate marketing and lodging taxes to worker housing. This measure would not increase any existing tax rate or impose a new tax, but rather broaden the use of an existing tax.

Uses of the current 2.4% Municipal Lodging Tax and 2.5% Municipal Sales Tax are limited to marketing, special events and group sales. This measure would expand the use of these taxes, allowing them to be used for workforce housing, marketing, special events and group sales.


Pitkin County Sheriff — Democratic candidate Michael Buglione is challenging three-term incumbent Joe DiSalvo, who is running without affiliation. Buglione’s campaign focused on his efforts to tackle mental health and hire and retain local staff, while stinging the sheriff with criticism of his management style and questions about his commitment to the community. DiSalvo said his experience as a sheriff made him the obvious choice for re-election, and said some of Buglione’s supporters were waging a smear campaign for personal reasons.

Pitkin County Board of Commissioners – Commissioner Patti Clapper is running unopposed in the District 1 race and Commissioner Kelly McNicholas Kury is defending her District 2 seat against Erin Smiddy. Kury has a career in public and civic service; his first term as commissioner included navigating the county through the pandemic, advocating on environmental, child care and worker housing issues. Smiddy introduced herself as a working-class local who understands the difficulties of working and living in Pitkin County, and said that as commissioner she would seek more housing opportunities for workers and s would oppose the expansion of runways at the airport.

Snowmass Poll Preview

2022 mayoral candidates

Incumbent Bill Madsen hopes to secure another two-year term as mayor of Snowmass Village. Prior to his first term as mayor, Madsen served on City Council from 2014-2020 and was a member of the Board of Health, Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council, RFTA, EOTC, JAS Aspen Snowmass and the Bob Beattie Ski Foundation. If elected to a second term, Madsen hopes to focus on the needs of the city and follow through on current council goals that have been set.

Challenger Reed Lewis is an entrepreneur from Snowmass Village, who runs businesses such as Daly Bottle Shop, Grain Fine Food, 81615 T-Shirt and Gift and Lys Chocolate. He served on the City Council from 2006 to 2010, in addition to being a member of various boards such as Ruedi Water and Electricity Authority Board, Snowmass Tourism Board, administration of Willows Condominium HOA and the board of directors of AspenOUT. Lewis hopes to focus on workforce housing because he understands the appeal of living in Snowmass, and he wants to make it a possibility for those who want it.

2022 City Council Candidates

Incumbent council member Tom Goode and three challengers are vying for two open seats in the Nov. 8 election. He is running against Matt Dubé, who works and owns commercial real estate; Britta Gustafson, creative director of Edible Aspen magazine and communications director of Farm Collaborative; and Susan Marolt, Chartered Accountant and Partner of Marolt LLP CPA.

Marolt has experience with the Aspen School Board as chair and member of the board, as well as many other boards. Gustafson, who was born and raised in Snowmass, has served on the boards of Little Red Schoolhouse and Wildwood. Dubé is a member of the Snowmass Village Planning Commission and the Snowmass Village Rotary Club.

All four candidates share similar views on the importance of the community character of Snowmass and are proud to want to help build the community. They disagree on the development of Snowmass. While Dubé and Marolt believe development is moving at a sustainable pace, Goode and Gustafson worry that it is moving too fast.

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