Voters reject beltway plan, override broadband ban

Grand Junction voters rejected a plan to finance construction of a beltway, but authorized the city to explore options for broadband communication services.

Rick Taggart and Chris Kennedy were elected to at-large seats on the Grand Junction City Council. They’ll join Bennett Boeschenstein, Duncan McArthur and Barbara Traylor Smith, who all were unopposed in their bids for re-election.

Nearly 11,300 ballots were accepted in the municipal election for a 36 percent turnout among the almost 31,500 active voters.

Referred Measure 2B asked voters to authorize the city to incur additional debt to finance the proposed Westside Beltway as well as keep and spend tax revenues above those allowed by so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights limits in the state constitution.

The measure failed by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio with 62 percent of votes against the plan and 35 percent in favor.

The proposed beltway would have included improvements along roadways connecting the west end of the Riverside Parkway to Interstate Highway 70, including 25 Road north of U.S. Highway 6 & 50, F 1/2 Road between 25 and 24 roads and 24 road north to the I-70 exchange.

The $25.5 million project was envisioned to relieve current traffic congestion while accommodating future traffic expected when the Riverside Parkway is extended on its east end to connect with I-70.

Referred Measure 2A asked voters to override state legislation banning the city from directly or indirectly providing Internet and cable television services.

Nearly 75 percent of votes were cast in favor of the measure, with almost 23 percent opposed.

While the city council has indicated it has no intention of providing broadband services, the override was needed to allow the city to explore options with businesses that do provide services. There’s also the option of exploring public-private partnerships to provide services.

The election also filled five of seven seats on the council.

In one at-large race, Taggart defeated Kim Kerk. Taggart received 51 percent of the vote, while Kerk received almost
32 percent. In the other at-large race, Kennedy outpaced Dennis Simpson by 912 voters, garnering 47 percent of the vote to Simpson’s 39 percent.

Boeschenstein was re-elected in District C, McArthur in District E and Smith in District B.