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Montezuma County Elections See Good Voter Turnout

Justin Grimes
Creative Commons

Voters in Montezuma County’s three municipalities chose new board members Tuesday in an election that saw fairly good turnout. In addition, Cortez voters overwhelmingly said yes to a measure to extend the current rec-center sales tax at a reduced rate. By a margin of more than 2 to 1, the city’s citizens chose to allow the tax to continue beyond its original sunset date at the end of 2021. But the rate will be reduced from the current .55 percent to .35 percent, which is 3.5 cents on a $10 purchase. Cortezans also filled five open seats on the city council. The only two incumbents on the ballot, Orly Lucero and Jill Carlson, were both re-elected. This will be the fourth term for the perennially popular Lucero, who took a break after his first two consecutive terms before returning to the council. Newcomers Michael Lavey, Gary Noyes and Sue Betts also made the board out of a field of eight candidates. More than a quarter of the city’s registered voters cast ballots.

In Dolores, where 11 hopefuls were seeking four town-board seats, incumbent Val Truelson and newcomers Tracy Murphy, Jen Stark and Melissa Waters were elected. In a separate race, Chad Wheelus defeated Jerry Whited to become mayor. In Mancos, incumbents Cindy Simpson and Fred Brooks along with new members Betsy Harrison and Brent McWhirter were chosen for town board. More than 36 percent of Dolores’s voters returned ballots, but in Mancos only 22 percent did so.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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