Voters approve sales tax, elect council members
Nov 04, 2015 | 4678 views | 0 0 comments | 92 92 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Although voters throughout the county participated in the November 3 general election, municipal elections garnered much of the attention.

Voters in Blanding and Monticello elected three members of their respective city council, while voters in Bluff added two members of the Bluff Service Area board.

Voters throughout the county approved a one-quarter percent sales tax which will be earmarked for transportation. A total of 58 percent of voters approved the measure.

The election was handled by San Juan County with mail-only ballots. There continues to be concern about the mail-only ballots, with the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission expressing reservations.

San Juan County officials state that the election went well, even though there were a few glitches. The ballots were mailed several days after initially planned and they did not include background information about the proposed transportation sales tax. A pros and a cons letter which had been prepared was not included in the ballot mailing.

Of the 17 Utah counties that had the transportation sales tax proposal on the ballot, voters in San Juan County and nine other counties approved the measure.

The Bluff Service Area election results are Mark C Bond (84), Westley E. Shook III (57), Edward M. Dobson (46). Bond and Shook will join Rick Reeb, Cindy Tumeh and LaRue Barton on the five-member Bluff Service Area board. A total of 114 of the 184 registered voters in Bluff participated in the election, which is 62 percent.

The Monticello City Council vote is Blaine Nebeker (349), Sanford Randall (348), Nathan Chamberlain (249), Sarah English (247), and Chris Baird (157). The three newly-elected officials join Steve Duke and George Rice Jr. on the City Council.

Late arriving votes could change the results of the election, since just two votes separate Chamberlain and English. The final results will be verified at the next Monticello City Council meeting.

Monticello voters supported the transportation sales tax with 62 percent of the votes. The total was 291 for and 180 against.

Voter participation increased by more than 50 percent in Blanding, when compared to the 2013 municipal election. In total, 642 of the 1264 registered voters in Blanding cast their ballot in 2015. In 2013, there were 426 votes cast in the municipal election.

City officials state that the mail-in ballot is responsible for a significant portion of the increase in voter participation.

In Blanding, the City Council vote is Trevor Olsen (433), Joe B. Lyman (376), Kathrina Perkins (345), Travis J. Whatcott (235), Ruth Smith Johnson (221), and Trent Herring (134).

Olsen and Perkins are first-time elected officials, while Lyman was elected to serve another term. The three join Taylor Harrison and Robert Ogle on the City Council.

Blanding voters approved an extension of the one-quarter percent Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) tax that provides funding for the community Wellness Center. The ten-year extension was approved by 68 percent of voters, with 424 voting for and 196 voting against.

Blanding voters supported the transportation sales tax with 56 percent of the vote, with 348 voting for and 273 voting against. Turnout in the first mail-in municipal election is roughly 50 percent higher than the prior municipal election.

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