Schools and Incumbents Emerge as Winners in Woodland Park Election- By Beth Dodd

Woodland Park’s citizens have spoken, with nearly 2,300 ballots cast in the municipal election, and with voters saying yes to school improvements but no way to city-wide incentives for future businesses and developments.

In addition, Tuesday’s vote, featuring a mail-in ballot, emerged as a big evening for the current incumbent office-holders.

The preliminary results posted by the city on April 5 indicated that Mayor Neil Levy has retained his seat for a two year term against challengers Noel Sawyer and Michel Maddux. Vote totals were Levy – 978, Maddux – 325, and Sawyer – 825.

City council winners include newcomers Val Carr and Paul Saunier, while Carrol Harvey, the current mayor pro tem, will keep her seat. They will serve four year terms. Vote totals were Carr – 1,303, Saunier – 1,116, Loftin – 1,064, Harvey – 1,210.

A proposed school sales tax was passed, which means a 1 percent sales tax will be added to goods sold in Woodland Park starting July 1 with the proceeds supporting our local schools on an annual basis. 1,363 votes were cast for this issue, while 916 voted against it.

This marked the first time in recent history that Woodland Park voters approved a sales tax hike. The passage of this issue could give the school district an extra $2 million a year for improvements and for teacher pay raises to help offset massive cuts they have experienced from the state. It culminated an intensive campaign led by school board members and community leaders.

Two of the city charter amendments failed. Questions 9 and 10 were shot down. Question 9 to amend Section 9.17 to give the city council the option of providing incentives to new developments was defeated by a vote of 577 for and 1,441 against. This vote was consistent with previous tallies on this issue over the last several decades. However, this time an aggressive pro-incentives campaign was organized by a group of city leaders. Question 10 to amend the charter to authorize council to sell, exchange, or dispose of public easements by resolution was defeated by a vote of 742 for and 1,259 against.

All the other charter amendments were passed including Question 2 – Follow State Initiative, Referendum and Recall Rules, Question 3 – Follow State Municipal Election Laws, Question 4 – More Flexibility in Filling Vacancies, Question 5 – Submit Annual Report after Audit, Question 6 – Allow Insurance in Lieu of Surety Bonds for Employees and Officers, Question 7 – Keep One Code Copy Instead of Three, and
Question 8 – Amend Instruments of Publications.