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Off-season elections

It’s election season again in the Crested Butte area. That’s right. It’s time to get out and vote on Tuesday, May 6.
Due to the quirky nature of Colorado laws for special districts, these entities may hold elections on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May. This Tuesday, local voters will be asked to elect board members to the Crested Butte Fire Protection District, the Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District, and the Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District. Some of these boards are seeing their first real contests in several years.
The Crested Butte Fire Protection District board election has been generating a great deal of interest as board candidates debate when the department should switch from being volunteer-based to relying on paid staff. Last week’s issue featured profiles of each of the five candidates vying for three open four-year seats.
 Incumbent board members Hank Smith and Paul Hird are running again for their seats, with residents Sean Riley, Peter O’Rourke and Jeff Isaac challenging. Registered Colorado voters who reside in or own property within the Crested Butte Fire Protection District are eligible to vote. The district roughly encompasses areas in the East River Valley from Round Mountain north. That includes Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, Crested Butte South, Skyland, Riverbend, Riverland, Gothic, Schofield, Kebler Pass, Irwin and Paradise Divide. The election will take place on Tuesday, May 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Crested Butte Town Hall.
The Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District will hold its election this week. The Mt. Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District serves approximately 1,500 customers, including the entire town of Mt. Crested Butte and the Meridian Lake subdivision. The district provides sewer service and water supply tap fees for homes and buildings, and is responsible for treating wastewater before it is discharged into Woods Creek, which feeds into the Slate River.
David Eleeson, Chuck McGinnis, William Cavanaugh and Melanie Rees are seeking to fill three vacant seats on the district’s five-member board. Any resident or property owner within the district’s boundaries is eligible to vote; voting will take place from May 6 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the district’s main office, 100 Gothic Road at the entrance to Mt. Crested Butte.
Like the Fire District race, area voters may head to Crested Butte Town Hall to cast their vote in the race for the Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District board. The district is charged with maintaining the translator system that provides free television signal to the county and funding arts and recreation locally.
In this election, six candidates are running for five available seats. Kevin Hicks, Mark Hildebrand, Dave McGuire and Rogene McKiernan are seeking four-year terms (there are three seats available). Paul Wayne Foreman and Bob Beda will fill the two seats available with two-year terms. Polling places for the District election will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6 at the Gunnison County multi-purpose building in Gunnison and at the Crested Butte Town Hall in Crested Butte. See the story on page 1 of this week’s issue for more information on the election and candidates.
It can be hard to get out the vote for these off-season elections. However, these districts provide meaningful services that affect local citizens’ lives each and every day. It’s up to all of us to make sure we elect good representatives that understand the importance of these districts’ services. Get out and vote on Tuesday.
—Aleesha Towns

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