Two are running for mayor this November
Mike Kowalewski and Chuck Harmon will run for the next Mayor of Idaho Springs in November.
The current Mayor, Mike Hillman, is on a temporary basis.
Kowalewski challenged Hillman in the April 2020 recall election, and Harmon is currently a member of the city council.
Along with the mayoral candidates, Kate Collier and Scott Pennell will be on the ballot as candidates for councilors for Ward I and Ward II, respectively.
Collier previously served on the city council and Pennell is a current member of the council.
Phyllis Adams and Diane Breece are both running for City Clerk and City Treasurer.
Adams ran the Chamber of Commerce and Breece is the current clerk and treasurer.
City charges 1% sales tax
Question about the ballot
Idaho Springs City Council voted 6-0 to ask voters for a 1% increase in VAT on water and sanitation spending in November.
After several weeks of discussion about the possibility, the Council approved it at its meeting on 23 August.
The poll question does not include a specific end date for sales tax, although City Attorney Carmen Beery made it clear that the council can get rid of it without asking voters.
Mayor Mike Hillman said the new 1% sales tax, if passed, would help offset increases in water and sewer charges over the next several years.
Such a tax would raise an additional $ 750,000 annually that would be used to pay off debts related to plant expansion, upcoming projects, and general operations.
Hillman said city officials were putting together fact sheets on how much impact the proposed tax would have.
During a working session on Aug. 16, city officials stated that a 1% sales tax would save a typical resident about $ 150 in water and sanitation bills in 2022 alone, and the savings would also be substantial by 2030.
However, councilors noted that the city’s combined sales tax rate would rise to 10.65% if this and the county’s proposed 1% road and bridge sales tax were both passed.
“That’s a lot,” Councilor Jim Clark said on August 16. “We’re approaching 11%. It’s such a double-edged sword. “
While absent from the August 23 meeting, Councilor Arthur Caccavale previously described how he felt the locals were overwhelmed and wished things had been better planned to avoid it.
“If we don’t get (the VAT hike) we’re in trouble,” he said on August 16.
Marijuana tax on the ballot too
Idaho Springs City Council voted 6-0 to include a 5% marijuana excise duty issue in the November vote. When passed, the proceeds go to current and future recreational facilities across the city.
The city expects revenue of $ 50,000 from this excise tax next year if it is passed.
City officials made it clear that the tax has already been introduced at the county level, but if voters approve it, the city tax will replace it. Thus, the business costs are not affected, clarified city attorney Carmen Beery.
“This is something the city deserves,” Mayor Mike Hillman said at the city council meeting on August 23. “The benefits of this 5% tax should go to the city, not the county.”
Hillman added that, given the success of Idaho Springs’ grant applications to Colorado Parks & Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado, that money could be used as an appropriate resource for future grants.