ALAMOSA — Alamosa voters will decide marijuana questions and mayoral/council candidates in the election next month.
Voters will receive their ballots in the mail next week, and the Alamosa County Chamber of Commerce and Valley Courier will help them receive the information they need about the candidates and issues during a candidate forum on Monday, Oct. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Alamosa city hall, 300 Hunt Ave.
Attendees can meet candidates for mayor and city council and learn more about the issues appearing on the November 7 ballot.
The most controversial ballot questions revolve around marijuana, as voters will be asked whether to allow medical and/or retail marijuana businesses within the city limits. Voters will also be asked if they want to tax retail marijuana sales, if retail sales are permitted. No tax is requested on medical marijuana.
Currently, medical marijuana is allowed in the county but not in the city limits. Retail marijuana sales are prohibited in the city and county.
The marijuana questions were citizen driven, with promoters collecting signatures to place the initiatives on the ballot. Since residents could not petition the tax question onto the ballot, the city council is posing the marijuana tax question. The tax question asks voters to approve a 5-percent tax on retail marijuana sales. The ballot question also provides a maximum estimate to be collected in the first year.
Other questions on the city’s ballot involve: increasing council compensation from $4,800 to $7,200 per year for city councilors and $7,200 to $9,600 a year for the mayor, with future compensation increases based on the Consumer Price Index; giving the city more leeway in partnering with broadband providers (SB-152 opt out); amending the city charter to allow non-residents who work, own property or own businesses in the city to serve on advisory boards, except for the planning commission or personnel board; and repealing a charter requirement for performance bonds on construction projects over $5,000, which would allow more local companies the opportunity to bid on city projects.
Three council seats are also up for a vote this year in addition to the mayor’s position. Two candidates are running for mayor, current Mayor Josef Lucero and current councilor and Mayor Pro Tem Ty Coleman. Two other races also feature two-way races. In Ward 2, current Councilor Kristina Daniel faces a challenge from David Broyles, and in Ward 4, current Councilman Michael Stefano faces contender Michael Carson. Councilor at large Jan Vigil is unopposed in retaining his seat on council.
Lucero has served as mayor for four years and previously served as a city councilman. He grew up in Antonito and graduated from Adams State where he majored in biology and chemistry. After serving seven years in the military, Lucero settled in Alamosa where he opened Lucero’s Dental Arts, a dental lab. He and wife Lena have been married 46 years and have two children.
Coleman has served as an at-large city councilor since 2014 and is currently mayor pro tem. He is the assistant branch manager for Rio Grande Savings & Loan in Alamosa. He is also an author and motivational speaker, volunteer youth football coach, member of Communities that Care and Kiwanis and on the board of the SLV Development Resource Group and Alamosa Literacy Council.
Daniel was elected in 2015 to finish the previous councilor’s term. She is active in the community and has previously held board positions at the Children’s Garden Early Learning Center and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley. She was named Adams State University’s Exceptional New Alumna in 2015. She has earned two master’s degrees from Adams State University. She holds an MBA with an emphasis in public administration and a master’s degree in community counseling.
Broyles is a long-time resident of Alamosa and most recently was president and CEO of First Southwest Bank. He has served on a number of local boards including Development Resources Group Board, Alamosa Local Marketing District Board, Alamosa Chamber Development Corporation Board, Alamosa City Planning Commission, Boys Scouts of America, Windsor Hotel Advisory Board and Alamosa Boys and Girls Club Board.
Stefano is a local businessman who has led efforts to address drug and other problems in his ward in the southern part of Alamosa. He has completed Colorado Municipal League training in municipal government and leadership through the MUNIversity program.
Carson is a lifetime resident of the San Luis Valley and has lived in Alamosa for more than 20 years. He is a database and network administrator and has worked in the IT and computer field for more than 15 years.
Unopposed at-large Councilor Vigil is an Adams State graduate originally from Pueblo who is a coach and teacher in Center.