Term limits extended for Moffat County surveyor and coroner

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By the numbers:

Sheriff — No

50.7 percent (1,978) against

49.3 percent (1,923) in favor

Clerk and Recorder — No

50.5 percent (1,983) against

49.5 percent (1,940) in favor

Treasurer — No

53.5 percent (2,086) against

46.5 percent (1,812) in favor

Assessor — No

55.3 percent (2,148) against

44.7 percent (1,735) in favor

Coroner — Yes

56.2 percent (2,186) in favor

43.8 percent (1,704) against

Surveyor — Yes

52.6 percent (2,043) in favor

47.4 percent (1,839) against

County Commissioners — No

73.2 percent (2,858) against

26.8 percent (1, 045) in favor

— A group of 10 community members pushed for term limit extensions for Moffat County elected officials and got what they wanted — sort of.

Voters said "yes" to extend term limits for two elected officials and voted no on the others, including Moffat County commissioners. Specifically, voters were asked whether term limits should be extended from two consecutive terms to three.

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

Of the seven measures on the ballot, only the county coroner and surveyor were approved to run a third term.

"Those are tough positions. There's not really a lot of qualified people who can do those jobs," Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod said.

About 56 percent of voters paved the way for the coroner to run for a third term, and 53 percent said "yes" to the county surveyor.

Yet extending term limits for the county commissioners failed by a wide margin, with 73 percent voting "no" and 27 percent voting "yes."

Perhaps the tightest race of the seven was for Moffat County sheriff, which failed by 55 votes. About 51 percent (1,978) voted against extending term limits for the sheriff and 49 percent (1,923) voted in favor.

“I’m not surprised or disappointed. It is what it is,” Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said. “I’ve been honored that people elected me as a sheriff. I’m thankful for every day that the people in Moffat County have given me.”

Jantz’s term ends in January 2015.

The second-closest term limit ballot question was for clerk and recorder, with 50.5 percent (1,983) against and 49.5 percent (1,940) in favor.

"It was a lot closer than it's ever been," Herod said about the term limits extension. “I’m happy.”

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.

Nancy Hettinger, an administrative assistant at the Moffat County Sheriff's Office, presented the committee’s mission to the Moffat County Commission on June 1.

“It’s hard to get quality people in a small community to run for office,” Hettinger said in June.

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

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