Yes to Bluff incorporation, no to Blanding alcohol
Approximately 2,800 voters participated in the November 7 general election in San Juan County, with municipal ballot issues that will impact the future of Bluff, Blanding and Monticello.
The question of whether or not to incorporate in Bluff had a clear answer as 74 percent of voters approved incorporation. In total, 90 voters approved incorporation and 32 voters opposed.
Eighty percent of voters in the Bluff area participated in the election.
Bluff can lay claim to three titles in San Juan County: the newest, the oldest and the largest community in San Juan County. The first area to be settled is now the last area to be incorporated.
With a new boundary extending along the San Juan River from St Christopher’s Mission to Comb Ridge and north on the Bluff Bench, Bluff covers an enormous amount of territory.
With more than 38 square miles for its 265 residents, Bluff is also easily the largest city in the county.
With voter approval, leaders will move forward on the next steps in the incorporation process. It is anticipated that a few city employees will be hired and elections will be held in June, 2018 to elect a Mayor and City Council.
In Blanding, a ballot question of whether to allow alcohol sales went down to defeat, with 579 voters opposing the sale of alcohol and 306 voters approving. The Blanding City Council has said that they would follow the wishes of voters.
Nearly two-thirds of voters in Blanding cast ballots in the election and two-thirds of the votes oppose the sale of alcohol. As a result, the long term ban on alcohol sales in Blanding will continue.
While the issue of alcohol sales in Blanding has been discussed many times over the years, this ballot question was the most formal measure of voter sentiment in city history.
With the vote, the question can be put to rest, at least for a while.
Joe B. Lyman will become the new mayor of Blanding in January. He ran unopposed and earned 658 votes. Lyman currently has a seat on the Blanding City Council and will resign that position in January to become the new Mayor.
For the two four-year positions on the Blanding City Council, Robert Turk and Cheryl Bowers earned the most votes, with 443 for Turk and 434 for Bowers. Finishing third is Taylor Harrison with 392 and Robert Ogle follows with 335 votes.
Logan Shumway was elected to a two-year position on the Blanding City Council with 581 votes, defeating challenger Corey Raisor, who earned 279 votes.
In Monticello, Mayor Tim Young was re-elected to a second term with 374 votes, defeating challenger Craig Leavitt, who earned 163 votes.
George Rice was re-elected to a second term on the Monticello City Council with 392 votes. The race for the remaining seat on the Monticello City Council was very close as Bayley Hedglin and Daniel Hunter were neck and neck. After four late ballots were added to the totals, Hedglin earned the spot with 276 votes, compared to 273 for Hunter.
In total, 60 percent of Monticello voters participated in the election.
In the race to replace Congressman Jason Chaffetz in the US House of Representatives, Republican John Curtis earned 1,466 votes in San Juan County, outpacing Democrat Kathie Allen, who earned 1,054 votes. Jim Bennett earned 180 votes, John Whalen earned 130, Jason Christensen earned 80, and Joseph Buchman earned 73.
Curtis was the winner of the overall race and has already replaced Chaffetz in Congress.
Voter turnout was the largest in Monticello, Blanding and Bluff, which had municipal questions on the ballot. In the rest of the county, which had only the Congressional race on the ballot, voter participation was 37 percent.