November election ballot questions certified

Voters to consider term limits, the future of political caucuses and requirements for Spanish-speaking students

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While there is only one question on the Nov. 5 general election ballot concerning strictly Moffat County, local officials have opinions on how many possible state constitutional amendments and referendums might affect local residents.

The one question on the ballot unique to just Moffat County will ask voters to decide whether term limits should be removed for the offices of clerk and recorder, treasurer, assessor, sheriff and coroner.

The Moffat County commissioners approved the question in July at the urging of residents, who presented a petition signed by 471 locals asking that it be placed on the ballot.

Each office will be separated

into five different questions on the ballot.

Another question on the ballot that applies to Moffat County and 13 other counties on the West Slope asks for a .25 mill levy increase for the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which the brought the issue forward.

The increase is expected to increase funding in the district by $2.7 million and the money will be put in a special fund for water supply, water development and water quality projects.

A spokesperson for the Colorado River Water Conservation District has said a quarter mill on a $100,000 home amounts to about $2.30.

The additional money will be used to hopefully prevent problems during future dry years regarding the availability of water, said Chris Treese, spokesperson for the Colorado River Water Conservation District.

Those voting also will see statewide ballot questions asking voters whether non-English

speaking students in public schools should be required to be placed in an "English immersion" program that is intended to last one year or less, and if successful, allow for placement of such children in the traditional classroom.

Pete Bergmann, superintendent of the Moffat County School District, which has 145 students in its English Language Learner program, said he did not think the amendment would impact how business is conducted in Moffat County schools if it were to pass.

"I don't think it would impact us significantly because we basically have an immersion program in which we teach students English and integrate them into our system as soon as possible," he said.

Depending on what level they are at in learning the English language,

Bergmann said students spend about 30 minutes to an hour each day in an intensive English program and spend the rest of the day in the regular classroom.

"I don't think it will affect how our ELL program is run," he said. "We'll still do what's best for the kids."

Another question on the ballot, Referendum B, has the attention of The Memorial Hospital Administrator Randy Phelps.

Referendum B, if passed, would allow local governments to become a partner with a public or private entity in the provision of health care services.

"We want to get it passed because it gives us the opportunity to be

equity partners with private entities," he said. "A case in point is

when Northwest Health Specialists envisioned bringing an MRI machine to town and asked us for a joint

venture. But we could not do

it."

More partnerships with places like Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs can be pursued through the amendment, he said.

"We could have improved services without increased taxes," he said.

Another question on the ballot could impact a tradition held by many political party faithful in Northwest Colorado.

Amendment 29 would require that all candidates for nomination at a primary election be placed on the primary election ballot by petition, eliminating the candidate designation and certification process from state, county and district assemblies.

Tim Jantz, chairman of the Moffat County Republican Party,

said as party chair he had not yet taken a stance on the proposed amendment.

"We're only one of three states that still uses the process," he said. "But we already have a petition process."

Jantz said he thought a reason the question was on the ballot was

due to the lack of people who attend assemblies, especially in metro

areas.

He said there was a sense at the last Republican Party assembly that it might be the last.

"Most of the people at the assembly had accepted the fact that this could be the last assembly," he said. "But I could be wrong. I don't have a feel for what the people in Moffat County think."

There are pros and cons to the amendment, he said.

"It does force candidates to get out and meet people face to face when they have to go door to door," he said. "But I think many folks say we already have a petition system, and we love the grassroots process."

Residents who are not registered to vote in the November election have until Oct. 7

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