Warrior1s Mark petition signatures questioned
BRECKENRIDGE<Opponents of the proposed Warrior1s Mark annexation are contesting the validity of signatures on a petition submitted to the town of Breckenridge<despite a proclamation Tuesday night that the petition meets state criteria.According to town manager Tim Gagen, 54 signatures were submitted on the petition requesting to annex the subdivision south of Breckenridge. Ten were found to be invalid. The 44 remaining signatures are enough to petition the town to consider annexing the area. An attorney representing the group notified town officials of their plans to contest the signatures earlier this week.In counties of fewer than 25,000 residents, a petitioner must obtain the signatures of 40 property owners who also are registered voters, or 10 percent of eligible registered voters in the area. Town attorney Tim Berry is out of town this week, so council members voted to continue the annexation discussion until he returns.There is a debate about how many registered voters live in Warrior1s Mark. According to Bryan Whitcomb, a Warrior1s Mark resident who spoke out in favor of the annexation at a town council meeting Tuesday night, there are fewer than 150, thus necessitating a minimum of 15 signatures on the petition. But according to opponent Stan Dobbs, the county clerk says there are 300<and an additional 250 are inactive voters, meaning they didn1t vote in the last election. That, Dobbs said, would mean up to 55 valid signatures would be needed.3That1s the verification we need to do with Tim Berry, Gagen said. 3Even if some of the signatures are not valid, we1ll compare it against the number required by the two tests to determine if they have enough.The council has continued discussion about the proposal three times, primarily to give town staff time to determine how much it will cost to incorporate the neighborhood into the town. Warrior1s Mark needs road and bridge improvements, and if annexed, the town would like to install a guardrail along White Cloud Drive. Additionally, town services<police, snowplowing and road maintenance among them<would fall from the county to the town. Another anticipated cost would involve obtaining easements for six pieces of property on three cul-de-sacs in Upper Warrior1s Mark to be used for snowplow turnarounds.According to data compiled by various town departments, including public works and the police department, the needed improvements will increase property taxes to each homeowner about $200 to $300. Town officials said they are willing to spend about $200,000 to make the improvements and acquire the easements needed. Half of that would be shared with Warrior1s Mark homeowners.Some Warrior1s Mark residents said they are opposed to the tax increase.3I look at this and see I can be part of the town for $200 to $300; that1s great. I1d love to be part of town, said Gordon Herwig. 3But over a 10-year period, your revenues are my tax increases. I feel like I1ve been shanghaied into this issue.3The only new tax they1d have that they don1t have today is a property tax, Gagen said. 3The town property tax is 5 mils, and the amount depends on the value of the home.Although town council members repeatedly have said they are merely considering the annexation petition and that it1s up to the voters in Warrior1s Mark to approve it, some in attendance Tuesday accused town council members of being biased in favor of the annexation.3People are asking for this annexation, Mamula said. 3To accuse us of trying to bring you into the fold<we are not. You have your vote. In general are we in favor of annexation? Absolutely yes. Do I want to talk Warrior1s Mark into annexation? Absolutely not.The council will discuss the issue<and the outcome of the signatures<at its April 9 meeting. If the signatures are valid and the council votes to approve the eligibility of the annexation, Berry will petition the court to set a date for the issue to come before voters in the neighborhood. If the initiative is approved, the town will then vote whether to accept the outcome of the vote.Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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