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Littleton ballot has initiatives from citizens

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By Ramsey Scott

Along with four open seats on the City Council, Littleton voters will decide in the Nov. 5 election on potential changes to how the council operates and whether two new taxes should be levied. 

Ballot measure 301 will let voters decide if the council will be held to stricter regulations when it comes to meeting behind closed doors. The issue was put on the ballot by a citizen petition. 

Under the proposed change, the council would be allowed to go into executive session only to discuss matters required to be kept confidential by federal and state law or to confer with an attorney regarding a legal action already filed in court.

Along with limiting the reasons to go into executive session, the measure requires that all executive sessions be recorded and kept on file at the city. 

The executive-session proposal calls for Littleton to follow more stringent rules than those in state law.

Ballot measure 302, also the result of a citizen petition, would make it more difficult to rezone property, requiring a two-thirds vote of council members if 20 percent of property owners within 100 feet of the property, or 20 percent of property owners in an area up for rezoning, filed a protest 24 hours before the rezoning hearing. 

It would also trigger a two-thirds-vote requirement if the city’s Planning Board voted against the rezoning.

Currently, only a majority vote of the council is needed to rezone property. The change would bring the city’s rezoning rules in line with state statute. Littleton, as a home-rule city, doesn’t have to follow state statute when it comes to issues like rezoning.

 

Taxes

Littleton voters also are considering two new taxes, although only one could generate revenue in the next year. 

The city is proposing a 3 percent tax on hotel stays of fewer than 30 days; it would generate $90,000 annually, according to the city’s projections. 

The other proposed tax is a 3 percent sales tax on retail marijuana purchases in the city. While the City Council has extended a moratorium on retail marijuana shops until October 2014, the tax would apply if the moratorium is not extended or is ended early by the council. It is estimated to bring in $120,000 a year if retail marijuana sales are ultimately approved.  

 

City Council candidates

While four of the seven council seats are up for election this year, only two seats are being contested. Randy Stein in District 1 and incumbent Phil Cernanec in District 3 are running unopposed.  

The two open slots are at-large seats, meaning they are elected by all voters in the city. Four candidates are vying for the two open spots. 

The incumbents, Bruce Stahlman and Bruce Beckman, are seeking re-election. Stahlman was first elected in 2007, and Beckman was first elected in 2011.

The other two candidates in the at-large race are John Watson and James Dean. Dean is a small-business owner in Littleton. Watson is a retired real estate developer. 

The at-large candidate with the most votes will serve a four-year term on the City Council, while the second-place vote getter will serve a two-year term.

To hear each candidate’s video campaign statement, or to find out where to drop off mail-in ballots, visit they city’s election website at bit.ly/1bssxC9.

 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.