The first public hearing on term limits will be held Monday night, at 6:30 p .m. at Pikes Peak Regional Development Center, 2880 International Circle. Because some El Paso County commissioners have raised the question of how much it would cost the county to put the issue of term extensions on the November ballot for a re-vote, the county released this statement:
“In response to citizen and media inquiries, El Paso County Budget Officer Nicola Sapp provided the following explanation of how the costs of a coordinated (off-year) election are allocated among the governmental entities which place issues on the ballot:
“Each year, we designate a line item in the county budget for anticipated election costs, but that is contingent upon our municipalities, school districts, fire districts and special districts reimbursing those costs in the “off year election cycle. If you just look at the expense budget and don’t look at the offsetting revenues, you might conclude that taxpayers countywide pay the full cost of the election no matter who puts questions on the ballot.
But state law recognizes that it wouldn’t be reasonable to ask all county taxpayers to foot the bill for an election in which only a few voters in a single school district or fire district could participate, therefore only governmental entities with issues actually on the ballot are asked to pay for the cost of a coordinated election. Election costs come out of the county’s general fund budget, so when you are considering placement of a question on the coordinated election ballot you are spending money that could otherwise be spent to buy badly needed equipment for the coroner’s office, hire additional prosecutors in the district attorney’s office, put more sheriff’s deputies out on the street or provide longer service hours in county parks.”
The statement, from the county’s public information office, also said, “ The county is required to conduct general (even-year) elections and all voters participate in those elections. When the county is on the ballot election judges must be hired and voting machines set up and all polling places throughout the county must be open and staffed. This is much more expensive than providing election services to a limited number of voters in a smaller district election. The Clerk and Recorder estimates it would cost the county $300,000 to be on the November ballot.”