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Ballots and balloons on tap for downtown

The Durango Business Improvement District is funded by a small property tax levied on about 400 commercial properties in the Central Business District and in the North Main District. This tax was last approved by eligible voters in 2010 and it will sunset in 2025. This Nov. 7, BID will ask those voters to consider continuing the property tax that funds BID’s services for every business in those 400 properties.

Who is an eligible voter? The owners of those 400 properties get a vote. Any business with a leasehold interest in those 400 properties gets to vote as well. There are close to 1,000 different businesses that BID serves. Any person who lives in a residence within the BID boundaries also gets a vote. This includes residences on the upper floors in buildings downtown, and we estimate there are at least 100 residences within the BID. In total there are approximately 1,500 eligible voters.

How does an eligible voter get a ballot? For most of the eligible voters, they will receive a ballot in the mail. If for some reason an eligible voter does not receive a ballot, they will be able to visit the La Plata County Clerk and Recorder’s office to get their ballot.

Who exactly gets to vote? BID’s election is governed by state laws, so just like in any election there are certain rules for who specifically gets to vote. Many properties and businesses are officially owned by a company, LLC or trust and not by an individual. Colorado law for BID elections requires that a voter be a “natural person” and not an entity. There is a process in BID’s election where an entity can appoint a person to complete the ballot by filing out a simple form. For businesses, there will also be an affidavit saying they attest that they have an active lease in a property in the BID.

In BID’s last election in 2010, 356 people cast a ballot. My goal for this year’s election is to increase that number.

If you want to know if you are an eligible voter, please contact me at timw@downtowndurango.org or 375-5068. I am happy to help, and I can also answer any questions you have about BID’s programs and services.

Don’t forget that the seventh Downtown Balloon Glow is next weekend. Join us from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 or Oct. 21 in the 500 block of Main Avenue in front of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Depot. The Balloon Glow features up to seven tethered hot air balloons glowing in this unique part of downtown Durango. Everyone will be able to get up close to the balloons and interact with the pilots.

This is a unique and fun event for downtown. Bring your cameras! Be aware that weather and wind can impact the ability of the balloons to inflate. We encourage you to arrive at 6 p.m. and keep your fingers crossed for a wind- and bad weather-free evening! More information is available at DowntownDurango.org/downtown-balloon-glow.

Tim Walsworth is executive director of Durango Business Improvement District. Reach him at timw@downtowndurango.org or 375-5068.