Voters to decide on Moffat County term limit extensions

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In November, Moffat County voters will have to decide whether they want to extend term limits for their elected officials from two terms to three.

On Tuesday morning, Moffat County Commissioners John Kinkaid and Chuck Grobe approved a resolution to put it on the November ballot. Commissioner Tom Mathers was not present.

It all started when a group of 10 citizens decided that they want their elected officials to have more time in office.

Nancy Hettinger, an administrative assistant at the Moffat County Sheriff's Office, first presented the committee’s mission to the Moffat County Commission on June 1, saying that she’d like voters to decide on the issue in November.

“It’s hard to get quality people in a small community to run for office,” Hettinger said in June, noting that it would give the current candidates in office an opportunity to run for one more term, which is longer than the current law allows.

On Tuesday, she presented to the commissioners the language the committee wants on the November ballot.

Rather than lumping all elected officials' term limit extensions into one measure, each position will be presented as its own ballot question. That means voters will have to decide on each position individually.

Grobe questioned that method, asking Hettinger if separating the questions was a good idea. She said it was.

The question already has been presented to Moffat County voters and failed twice in the past — once in 1996 and the other in 2002.

In 1996, all offices were included on one ballot measure, and in 2002, there was a measure for each office.

Neighboring counties such as Routt, Rio Blanco and Garfield counties eliminated term limits for all of their elected officials.

Routt County put it to a vote in the 1990s, and it failed. It was added to the ballot again in 2000, and voters eliminated term limits. Rio Blanco eliminated elected officials' term limits in 1999, and Garfield did away with term limits in 1998, according to data compiled by Mesa County.

Mesa County slowly has extended term limits for its elected officials. In 2009, voters approved extending term limits to three terms for the county district attorney, sheriff and coroner.

Noelle Leavitt Riley can be reached at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com

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