November 8, 2022 Election

Fort Collins City Council has placed three items on the November 8, 2022 ballot: Moving the municipal election cycle to November of odd-numbered years; Increasing Council compensation; and Ranked Choice Voting. All three issues would change our City Charter.

After in-depth review by staff, the Local Legislative Affairs Committee (LLAC) and the Board, the Fort Collins Area Chamber has elected to take NO POSITION on changing the election cycle and compensation as the impact to business is considered minimal.

However, the Chamber is OPPOSING Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), providing the following rationale:

  • The Chamber believes our current system is simple, transparent and clear. It works.
  • Compared to our current plurality system (“first passed the wire”) RCV introduces a great deal more complexity, cost and political gamesmanship without providing clear benefits to the community.
  • The system has not proven to increase voter participation, which is one of the primary objectives of the proposal.

See below for a more in-depth understanding of the ballot issues.

 

NO POSITION: City-Initiated Charter Amendment No.1
(Increasing Council Compensation) as the impact to business is considered minimal.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

    • Currently, members of Council receive $853 per month ($10,236/yr) and the Mayor receives $1,280/month ($15,360/yr).This compensation level was placed into the City Charter in 1998 and raises over time and is attached to the Consumer Price Index.
    • Council members estimate 20 hours per week or more devoted to official duties.
    • The referred ballot language would increase annual Council compensation to 50% of the Area Median Income for a single-person household, 60% for Mayor Pro Tem and 75% for the Mayor. This equates to $37,600, $45,120 and $56,400, respectively.  The resulting impact to the City Budget would be $289,520/year ($212,744 net of current compensation).
    • The stated purpose of this ballot item is to more fairly compensate elected officials for their time while potentially increasing the pool of prospective candidates for public office.
    • Council members would not be recognized as employees, but this change would make Council members eligible for City Health-Related Benefits. In 2022, benefits would cost $13,600 per Council Member resulting in a City Budget impact of $95,200.  Council members then would be eligible to pay a premium for the benefits ranging from $1,351-$7,722.
    • Overall Budget Impact: Increased cost of $307,944
    • Arguments for the issue: Council is undercompensated for the work being done and this may open the door for more diverse candidates to run for office.
    • Arguments against the issue:  increasing compensation sets the stage for an expanded role of elected officials and increasing budget demands, a similar issue has failed twice in the last 10 years, this is growth of government.

FULL BALLOT TEXT

Shall Section 3 of Article II of the Charter of the City of Fort Collins, regarding compensation for the Mayor and City Councilmembers, be amended to provide:

    • the Mayor will receive seventy-five percent (75%),
    • the Mayor Pro Tem will receive sixty percent (60%), and
    • all other Councilmembers will receive fifty percent (50%),

of the Area Median Income for the Fort Collins/Loveland area for a single-person household, adjusted annually;

And to further provide that all Councilmembers will be entitled to opt into the City organization’s healthcare-related benefits, on the same terms those benefits are available to City employees?

Full Text of the Amendment

_____ Yes/For
_____ No/Against

RESOURCES:


NO POSITION on City-Initiated Charter Amendment No.2
(Moving City Elections to November in Odd-numbered Years) as it did not see this as a business issue.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: 

    • This change to the City Charter would allow all municipal elections to be held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday of November in odd-numbered years.
    • This would replace the current schedule in which candidate elections are held in April of odd-numbered years.
    • This item is proposed to raise voter participation and lower voter fatigue.
    • By moving to a November election, the City can coordinate elections with the County General Election. Costs to the City for the election would not change dramatically.
    • In 2021 the City of Fort Collins saw a 37% voter turnout.  In comparison, Larimer County saw a 43% voter turnout in their last odd-number coordinated election.

FULL BALLOT TEXT

Shall Article VIII of the Charter of the City of Fort Collins, regarding the conduct of City elections, be amended to:

    • make the regular city election date the first Tuesday in November of every odd-numbered year, instead of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in April of every odd-numbered year;
    • transition to the new election schedule by extending the current term of the Mayor and of each Councilmember from April to November of the appropriate odd-numbered year, without altering the number of terms each may serve;
    • allow for coordinated elections to be conducted by the County Clerk and Recorder and clarify the applicable law for coordinated elections;
    • allow Council to adjust the time frame for candidate nominations and withdrawals up to 180 days prior to an election; and
    • make minor conforming edits; and

shall Article II of the Charter, regarding membership, terms and organization of the City Council, be amended to provide that City officers elected in a November election shall be sworn in and take office, and a Mayor Pro Tem shall be elected, at a special Council meeting on the second Tuesday of January after such election?

Full Text of the Amendment

_____ Yes/For
_____ No/Against

RESOURCES: 


OPPOSE City-Initiated Charter Amendment No.3

(Implementation of Ranked Voting Method)

  • The Chamber believes our current system is simple, transparent and clear. It works.
  • Compared to our current plurality system (“first passed the wire”) RCV introduces a great deal more complexity, cost and political gamesmanship without providing clear benefits to the community.
  • The system has not proven to increase voter participation, which is one of the primary objectives of the proposal.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

    • This change is being presented as a method for electing candidates that appeal to the majority of voters through a method of ranking all candidates for a specific office.
    • Under this system voters would need to assign a preference priority for each candidate. In the event no candidate garners a simple majority of all ballots received, the candidate with the lowest total is eliminated and all second-choice votes are redistributed among the remaining candidates.
    • The process is repeated until one candidate accumulates a majority of votes.
    • Administration of RCV can be higher with equipment costs, staffing costs, consultant costs and educational costs.
    • There are no consistent studies that identify successful increase in voter participation as a result of Ranked Choice Voting.
    • Our community doesn’t use primaries or runoffs in its election of of local council members. As such, Ranked Choice Voting becomes a solution to an unidentified problem

FULL BALLOT TEXT

Shall Article VIII of the Charter of the City of Fort Collins, regarding the conduct of City elections, be amended to:

    • require that for all regular city elections after January 1, 2025, the offices of Mayor and of each District Councilmember shall be elected using a “ranked voting method,” pursuant to the applicable Colorado statutes or, for City-conducted elections, procedures and deadlines adopted by the City Council by ordinance;
    • clarify the applicable law for coordinated elections; and
    • make minor conforming edits; and

shall Article IX of the Charter, regarding recall, be amended to incorporate the ranked voting method set out in Article VIII?

Full Text of the Amendment

_____ Yes/For
_____ No/Against

RESOURCES:


Election Resources: 

The Fort Collins City Council has called a special election to be held in conjunction with the Larimer County General Election on November 8, 2022. 

Ballots will be mailed the week of October 17, 2022

 

Please note: The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to provide education, information and analysis of local issues and candidates specifically for its members. The opinions expressed in this website are meant to give Chamber members a perspective that advocates for the business community and the city’s overall quality of life, and to give members insight into the potential impacts of local issues and candidates.  No Chamber Dues or Funds are being contributed to any of the issue campaigns.