By Mike McKibbin/NewsBreak Denver
[LARKSPUR, CO] A lengthy election ballot in Larkspur does not include any contested races for town council or mayor, but voters will decide 14 ballot issues, including an increase in the town's lodging tax.
Voters will use mail ballots or visit the only polling place at town hall for the April 5 election. Voters can turn in ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at town hall. All ballots must be received no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.
Outdated charter changes proposed
Several proposed amendments to Larkspur's home rule charter will replace outdated language and make other wording changes, Mayor Isaac Levy explained.
For example, he noted "councilmen" would be referred to as "councilmembers." Another would change "qualified" electors to "registered" electors.
Levy said the charter changes follow advice from a state elections official who noticed several outdated portions relating to Larkspur's elections.
Among other changes, candidate nomination petitions would only need the signatures of 10 registered electors instead of 10% of the town's registered electors.
Another ballot issue would distribute most of the current duties and powers given to the mayor among the councilmembers, Levy said.
"We wanted to try to make things more democratic if you will," he added. "The way the duties are now, the mayor enforces our zoning code, but I can't even write a ticket" to an offender.
That left the town with the option of taking the offender to court, which can be a lengthy process, Levy said.
This ballot issue would allow the town council to designate the town manager as the enforcement officer.
Infrastructure projects benefit from lodging tax hike
If approved, a 4% lodging tax increase would raise the town's tax revenue by at least $250,000 a year. The tax would begin on Jan. 1, 2023, and the money would be used primarily for infrastructure projects.
"Other municipalities with lodging taxes have raised them but Larkspur's hasn't changed in some time," he added. "So, this just brings us up to speed."
Levy said one possible project would be a link to the Front Range hiking trail that connects many Douglas County municipalities. Others could be road and bridge improvements, he said.
Council, mayor races unopposed
Mayoral candidate Sherilyn West and town council candidates Levy, Mindy Kazurova, Sandy Mckeown, Ruth Ann Arfsten and Lynn Pfaff are all unopposed. The two candidates with the most votes will serve 4-year terms. The other four will serve 2-year terms.
Levy said Larkspur's seventh council member would be appointed through an application process by the end of June.
Levy was elected without opposition to the town council in 2016, then re-elected unopposed in 2020. Levy, who was mayor pro tem, became mayor in 2021 when the previous mayor was recalled.