DEL NORTE- The Upper Rio Grande School District (URGSD) will welcome three new members to the board of education after preliminary results for the 2019 coordinated election came in election night. Preliminary results for the open positions are as follows, Cory Off received a total of 963 votes, Veronica Climie received 731 votes and Keith Brown received 689 votes. All three candidates will be serving terms that will be determined at a later date. Candidate Donna Velasquez received 438 votes, Jerry Gallegos received 622 votes and Brian Velasquez received 272 votes.
The school district is in the midst of change with the election results being a huge factor in how the school moves forward. All candidates have expressed their desire to bring transparency to the board of education and to be more involved and open with the community. The voters in Del Norte showed up in force Tuesday night and made sure their desires were known.
In addition to the school board, the town of Monte Vista unofficially passed a new sales tax increase - also known as the One Cent Projects Fund. There were 527 “yes” votes cast and 406 “no” votes for the One Cent Projects Fund which correspondingly increases the city’s taxes by $475,000 in 2020 (the first full year of such tax increase) and by whatever amounts are raised annually thereafter by the additional sales tax at the rate of 1% will be credited to the City of Monte Vista’s “One Cent Project’s Fund” which is dedicated solely for the payment of capital improvements and operating expenditures for (1) streets and sidewalks, (2) Police department and public safety and (3) Ski Hi Park purposes as approved by the Monte Vista City Council following consideration of the recommendations of a to-be-established One Cent Project’s Fund oversight citizen’s committee. The city of Monte Vista anticipates to receive a minimum of $400,000 in annual revenue from the 1% sales tax increase. These tax revenues will not be added to the City’s budget until the fall of 2020. Of the anticipated $400,000, $160,000 will go to Ski Hi Park projects to fund long-term maintenance of the facility in order to keep costs to users lower and the funds will help the Friends of Ski Hi Park organization with their goal of planning and funding a replacement for the existing multipurpose building which would involve demolishing of existing buildings. Part of the revenue from the One Cent Tax Fund would be utilized to assist this project in happening and making sure that city recreation priorities can be part of the building project. If a new building is unable to be built, then some funds from the one cent project fund may be utilized to make the best possible improvements to the existing multipurpose building. ii. If a new building is constructed some funds from the one cent project fund may be used to provide seed money and matching funds for additional improvements to Ski Hi Park.”
Thirty-five percent, or $140,000, of the anticipated $400,000 will be distributed to the Monte Vista Public Works department, with the first priority being street paving. The city has an estimated 3 miles of dirt roads that would be paved. The public works portion of the funds also establishes an annual sidewalk replacement fund in order to raise and keep sidewalks in a better rating and improving drainage with larger drainage pipes, improved storm inlets and valley pans on those roads without curb and gutter.
The police department will receive $100,000 (25%) of the funds for an additional full-time officer which will allow the department to have a stronger presence in the school systems, allow officers to utilize vacation and attend trainings, and assistance in closing investigations. The department will also be able to purchase new equipment including Tasers, radios, tactical gear, live-saving equipment and fleet upgrades.