Election Results 2021: Castle Rock rejects open-space tax; mixed results on other measures

Voters asked to approve tax hikes, TABOR pause


Castle Rock voters -- presented with a quartet of ballot measures on money matters -- appeared to reject a sales tax hike to fund open space in partial election returns late Tuesday, while the vote was close on three other measures.

Officials said the measures would help the town pay for infrastructure and growing public safety expansion needs in the police and fire departments and increase revenues to purchase open space and pay for parks and recreation upgrades.

Opponents questioned the need for higher taxes in the town.

As of 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, in partial returns, town Ballot Issue 2C, a 0.1% sales and use tax increase for open space, was going down to defeat by a margin of 24 percentage points.

Town officials estimated that annual revenue would have increased under 2C by just over $1.8 million, with funds to going toward acquiring, developing and maintain open space and trails.

Meanwhile, as of late Tuesday, the "yes" vote was narrowly leading on ballot issue 2B by just under 6 points, and on 2D, the "yes" vote was ahead by 5 points.

On the other hand, the "no" vote was ahead on Ballot Issue 2A by less than 3 points in late-Tuesday partial returns.

Here's a closer look at 2A, 2B and 2D.

Question: 2A New housing construction tax for police and fire: The measure would add a $7 per square foot tax on new home construction. The tax would not impact existing homeowners or construction currently underway. With approval, the new tax would go into effect for new home permits beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

The new tax was expected to bring $13.9 million in new revenue. Town Manager David Corliss has said the funding would go towards police, fire, and emergency services in Castle Rock.

Ballot question 2B: sales tax on lodging -- Voters were asked to increase town revenue by an estimated $650,000 a year by implementing a 6% sales tax on lodging. The funds would be used for parks and recreation purposes.

Question 2D 10-year TABOR pause: The town asked voters to approve a 10-year pause to TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) to help fund police and fire programs and the $75 million Crystal Valley interchange reconstruction that officials said is needed due to increased traffic coming from Interstate 25.

With voter consent, this means that instead of refunding excess tax revenue to citizens each year, the town would keep the funds for the next 10 years, starting in 2022.

The TABOR Amendment, approved by Colorado voters in 1992, limits the amount of revenue governments can retain and spend. If funds exceed a certain amount, the law requires the state and cities to refund taxpayers.

Corliss noted that TABOR has been a controversial issue in the state and that other entities have successfully gotten voters to reverse it. TABOR limitations have been removed through voter-approved measures in Boulder, Denver, Thornton, Broomfield, and Aurora.

Corliss said other towns have removed TABOR limitations temporarily. Loveland paused TABOR rules through the year 2024.

For results of other races, including Douglas County school board, visit ColoradoCommunityMedia.com.


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