Early voting begins Monday

$72.1 million in tax questions posed to voters

At a glance

Important dates and addresses

Oct. 22 Early voting begins

Nov. 2 Last day to vote early or absentee

Nov. 6 Election Day. Election hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Federal law requires voters to present identification at the polls.

Voting centers

Vote centers for the Nov. 6 election are located at the Centennial Mall of Craig, 1111 West Victory Way; Hamilton Town Hall, South Highway 13; the Maybell Community Center, 103 Ellis; and Dinosaur Town Hall, 333 S. Stegosaurus.

Have questions?

• Go to craigdailypress.com and click on Election 2007

• At 7 p.m. Monday Oct. 29, Samantha Johnston, TMH Service Excellence Officer, will be conducting a live Web chat where readers can ask questions directly to her about the ballot issue.

• At 6 p.m. Thursday Nov. 1, Dave DeRose will be conducting a live Web chat where readers can ask questions directly to him about the ballot issue.

• For more information, contact the Office of the County Clerk & Recorder at 221 West Victory Way, Suite 200, Craig, CO 81625 or call 970-824-9104. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday

— On the eve of the second stage of voting, and about two weeks out from Election Day, officials from the Moffat County School District and The Memorial Hospital are confident their proposals - requests totaling $72.1 million for new construction - are agreeing with voters.

"I believe that Moffat County voters are some of the most informed anywhere," said Samantha Johnston, TMH service excellence officer. "If they have the information, they make the choices that they think are the very best for Moffat County. I wish I could predict how the vote will turn out, but I believe the voters who have all of the hospital facts will support the project."

"We've heard nothing but positive things, and very little negative, in our campaign," School District Superintendent Pete Bergmann said. "When we have an opportunity to present the facts, community members are very supportive."

Early voting for the November ballot begins Monday.

It will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Oct. 22 to Nov. 2 at the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder's Office. Requirements for early voting are being a registered Moffat County voter and being able to present photo identification.

Voters can choose to either cast their ballot on paper or use electronic voting machines.

Absentee ballots were mailed out earlier this month, and returns have been trickling in to the clerk's office in recent weeks.

Because it's an off-year election, the Clerk and Recorder's Office is projecting a voter turnout of about 3,000 voters, with early and absentee votes accounting for roughly one-third of the total, or 1,000 votes.

The Memorial Hospital's proposal is asking voters to approve a 3-mill tax package that would fund about 40 percent of a $42.6 million new hospital. The new hospital, an 84,475-square-foot-facility, would be located on 15 acres near the proposed site of a new Colorado Northwestern Community College campus, in west Craig.

The new hospital would give TMH about 9,000 square feet more than its current 76,000-square-foot building on Russell Street. It would include, among other features, 25 acute beds, 15 medical/surgery beds, a 10-bed emergency department, four postpartum/gynecology beds, three operating rooms, two labor/delivery beds and expanded laboratory, diagnostic and imaging services.

The School District is proposing a $29.5 million bond issue that would pay for a new Craig Middle School, renovations to Craig Intermediate School and the district's three elementary schools, as well as other upgrades and repairs throughout the district.

Both hospital and School District officials report that their respective campaigns have gone well thus far and are reaching voters who previously were on the fence or even opposed to the tax questions.

The campaigning will continue right up to Election Day, they said.

"There's no way we've reached every potential voter," Johnston said. "Our effort has been very grassroots and often happens at a one-on-one level. I believe we've reached a lot of people who didn't support the project in the past, but who believe in our mission and vision now.

"We have too much to accomplish to stop campaigning now."

Bergmann said polling conducted six months ago, when the school district was trying to gauge public opinion before deciding on the bond issue question, indicated support and opposition to the question was about even. Since then, the bond issue campaign may have pushed those numbers up to more favorables than unfavorable, the superintendent said.

"We've been doing a lot of outreach," he said, "and we're going to keep pushing right up until Election Day."

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