by Bill Knowles
TRINIDAD — Election night, and the voters of Las Animas County were feeling generous, passing all three ballot referendums the county and the DA were asking for along with the de-Bruce question that will allow both entities to keep what they bring in on taxes.
Referendum 1A and 1B, approved by over 1,000 votes each, were the sales tax questions. 1A gives the DA’s office a half-cent sales tax over the next ten years and 1B gives Las Animas County a one-cent sales tax.
Voters passed referendum 1C, beating the no votes by nearly 2,000 votes. 1C is the de-Brucing question that allows both the DA and the county to keep all the revenue raised by the sales tax without having to see a drop in the mill levy or return the overage, anything above 5.5 percent, with a temporary tax credit.
1A garnered 2,693 yes votes to 1,865 no votes. The votes for 1B were 2,863 yes and 1,674 no. Referendum 1C gained 3,182 yes votes to 1,340 no votes.
By the end of the evening the tension of campaigning for the referendums was evident in the faces of county officials as the impact of the victory began to sink in.
“Right now I’m speechless and I’m generally not speechless. I think that the people of Las Animas County saw we really needed this money and they stepped up and I can’t thank them enough,” county commission chair Mack Louden said.
“We would like to thank the constituents and voters of Las Animas County. They have heard our plea, they
have watched us try, overcome, give the best services we can with what we had and we cannot thank them enough,” county assessor Jodi Amato said.
“This wasn’t about saving county jobs it was about public service, and now we can continue to move forward,” noted county clerk and recorder Peach Vigil.
Trinidad voters chose to keep Mayor Phil Rico giving him 1,749 votes to challenger Joe Bonato’s 667. In the
Trinidad City Council race the top three vote candidates were Karen Griego with 1,551, incumbent Anthony Mattie with 1,081, and Rusty Goodall with 974.
In other elections around the county; Hoehne School Director for District Two, unopposed Marvin Lee Price with 377 votes; Director District Three, Cameron J. Cummings 397, unopposed; Director District Five, a tie between Jennifer McDonald and Steven Larson each garnered 244 votes. And for Director District Six in Hoehne Ryan Coberly won by 20 votes over Amy Navarette, 251 to 231.
In the Primero School District for four year terms, voting for four candidates, was Gilbert Mestas with 246 votes, Theresa Trujillo with 241 votes, Retha Chavez with 238 votes, and John Jenkins with 229.
All six of the referendums for changes in the Charter for the City of Trinidad passed.
With the passage of the sales tax referendums the county will began digging out of the financial quagmire it has found itself in. By the end of 2018 the county’s budget will began taking on a different complexion. And the DA’s office will continue to increase the number of prosecutions, as they will have the staff to begin building cases that are solid.