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West Metro Fire voters reject tax increase

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But three candidates who favored boost are elected to board

By Ramsey Scott

Unofficial results released Tuesday afternoon showed with 96 percent of the votes counted that 16,580 votes were cast against the tax hike and 15,749 in favor. 

West Metro said the ballot count should end by Wednesday, May 14.

The turnout set a record for West Metro elections, with 30,000 ballots cast.

The increase would have represented about $72 more annually in taxes on a home worth $300,000, bringing the total bill to about $367. West Metro predicted the 3 additional mills, raising the district’s total levy to 15.382 mills, would have raised $8.6 million annually. 

While voters rejected the tax increase, they elected three new members to the West Metro Board of Directors who had favored the boost. 

Cassie Stenstrom (District 1), Marta Murray (District 2) and Tony Gonzalez (District 3) all won election to the board. All three had supported the increase and defeated opponents who had spoken out against it. 

Michael T. Munden (District 5), was unopposed in his race. 

The election was at-large, meaning voters from across the district were able to vote in all the races. 

The West Metro Fire Protection District covers 110 square miles, including Lakewood, Morrison and parts of unincorporated Jefferson County. The district employs 326 full-time firefighters and 55 civilian staff at 15 stations.  

Before the election, West Metro estimated that 200 duplicate ballots were mailed to voters, and said several underage voters received ballots. West Metro spokeswoman Michelle French said in a news release that the duplicate ballots were a result of slight variations in names on voter lists that the district received from the county. 

West Metro said each ballot had a unique identification number that would prevent duplicate ballots from being  counted. 

Underage voters who received ballots had been on Jeffco’s list of minors who had pre-registered to vote. The district received a list of those names and said it would eliminate those ballots. 

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

 

Vote totals 

Property-tax increase 

For, 15,749 

Opposed, 16,580 

 

District 1

Cassie Stenstrom               16,543

Fred Clifford                        9,952

District 2

Devin Howard                     3,120

Marta Murray                       15,081

Dan Smith                           8,050

District 3

Tony Gonzalez                      12,996

Joseph (Joe) Margotte          4,508

Clyde Wadsworth                 8,628

District 5

Michael T. Munden                 22,686