Broomfield City Council decided at it’s Oct. 6 council meeting to receive public comment and vote on whether to support or oppose three local ballot measures and one state ballot initiative.
Mayor Pro Tem Guyleen Castriotta proposed council vote on resolutions for items 2A, 2B, and 2C, which are items council voted to put on the ballot, and statewide for Amendment B: Repeal Gallagher Amendment
Danee Brouillard, who used to be deputy city and county clerk and became executive operations manager in the city manager’s office Sept. 10, presented the election update at council’s Tuesday night study session, which was 35 days out from the general election.
With 11 statewide ballot initiatives, this is one of the longest ballots in recent history, Brouillard said. Staff was there to hear whether council wanted to adopt resolutions to take a position on those initiatives and the three local initiatives.
Castriotta said her intention was for council to focus on the ones that will impact Broomfield and “not take up time with the ones that are not that relevant.”
“If council is amenable, I would say let’s decide on our local ballot measures and Amendment B,” she said, “and if there’s any other ballot measures other council members think we need to weigh in on, but I would like to keep it, you know, condensed.”
Ward 2 Councilwoman Elizabeth Law-Evans said she appreciated Castriotta’s comments, but questioned whether all items on the ballot, by definition, affects Broomfield voters because they vote on state issues.
“I don’t like taking positions as a body on anything,” she said about the initiatives. “It will have to be something very compelling to get me to take a position at all.”
While she doesn’t support council telling people how to vote, if they are to discuss and vote on some initiatives, they should do so for them all, Law-Evans said. If there is an initiative that could get her to change the stance, it would be the question regarding banning abortions at 22 weeks.
“I think if we we’re going to discus any of them we should discuss all of them because by definition they all affect Broomfield,” Law-Evans said. “But my preference actually Mr. Mayor is not to take a position on any of them.”
Ward 4 Councilwoman Kimberly Groom agreed with Law-Evans and believes the local governing body shouldn’t tell residents how to vote on issues. She knows the decision to allow votes on this type of resolution was established by a previous council, but she was against it then and is against it now.
She also commented that residents, who are “extremely intelligent,” can read the Blue Book.
Had council chosen to talk about every issue, they would have “been here forever,” she said. She questioned how council could decipher which state issues are important versus which would be important to residents. If council doesn’t want to tell people how they should vote, they could provide guidance for what’s best for Broomfield, she said.
Ward 1 Councilman Stan Jezierski said he was also not a fan of council taking position on most ballot issues. Voting decisions belong to the individual, he said. He was OK with discussing the local initiatives because council put them on the ballot in the first place, but he was in favor of a quick discussion rather than extensive presentations.
“This is not a study session,” he said about the upcoming vote. “I think it should be a pretty quick conservation, debate, however you want to frame it, but it’s not a study session for or against. It’s how we feel as individuals and whether we want to move forward on supporting any of these ballot issues.”
Council members Jean Lim, Laurie Anderson, William Lindstedt and Devon Shaff supported Castriotta’s proposition, with Shaff wanting to add paid family medical leave insurance to the discussion. Ward 2 Councilwoman Sharon Tessier said she was OK moving forward with ballot initiatives specifically impacting Broomfield, and suggested that presenters extol pros and cons of each issue.
Tessier said if council is really trying to help residents, she would like for residents to be able to call in with concerns and questions they might have on the ballot issues rather than telling them how to vote. Broomfield City Council is a nonpartisan board, she said, and she wants to honor that.
A vote on Oct. 6 will need 2/3 majority of the council present at the meeting.
Ballots will be mailed Oct. 9.
2A – Asks the voters to approve a special sales tax on retail marijuana in the amount of four percent (4%), authorizing and increase up to ten percent (10%) without a future vote. This tax will be in addition to Broomfield’s general sales tax. The special sales tax revenue may be used for Health and Human Service programs as well as other general purposes of the city and county.
2B – According to forecasts by the State of Colorado Property Tax Administrator, the residential assessment rate could drop from 7.15% to 5.88% in tax year 2021. If this forecasted rate were to be realized, the City and County of Broomfield would see a reduction in property tax revenue in a year that it would otherwise have seen an increase. In order to maintain the property tax revenue at the same level as the prior year, or in order to actually receive an increase as would be expected because property values increased, the City and County of Broomfield would have to raise the mill levy. Therefore, in order to maintain property tax revenues if the General Assembly reduces the residential assessment rate, the City and County of Broomfield must present to the voters a ballot measure that allows the increase in mill levies.
2C – Asks the voters to amend the Home Rule Charter to revise Charter Section 18.3(b)(3)(B), removing the exception for extraction of minerals so that extraction of minerals will be considered a change of use of Open Space. The Charter amendment would make the use of Open Space for mineral extraction subject to the same procedures as other changes of use.
Amendment B: Repeal Gallagher Amendment – The measure submits a question repealing several constitutional provisions regarding property taxes, commonly referred to as the Gallagher Amendment. Specifically, it repeals the 29 percent assessment rate in the constitution for most nonresidential property, the calculation of the target percentage, and the requirement that the General Assembly adjust the residential assessment rate to maintain a 45% residential/ 55% non-residential ratio.
From Broomfield City Council memo