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Silverton voters reject recall efforts, prohibit OHVs in town

Mayor Shane Fuhrman and two trustees retain their seats
A Silverton special municipal election was held Tuesday. Voters were asked whether to recall the mayor and two town board members, and about whether off-highway vehicles should be allowed on roads in town. (Durango Herald file)

Silverton voters this week rejected a recall effort targeting the town mayor and two town trustee members, and decided to prohibit the use of off-highway vehicles on streets and alleys within town limits.

Off-highway vehicles were previously allowed on designated routes within town.

The recall of Mayor Shane Fuhrman received 214 “yes” votes and 263 “no” votes.

The recall of Trustee Sallie Barney received 197 “yes” votes and 281 “no” votes.

The recall of Trustee Jordan Bierma received 203 “yes” votes and 277 “no” votes.

“I am very grateful to the community for allowing us to continue the momentum we’ve been building since we were elected in April of 2020,” Fuhrman said Wednesday.

Fuhrman declined to formally protest the recall petition, saying recalls should be reserved for major issues.

“It was, in my view, a use of town time and taxpayer dollars that wasn’t necessary,” Fuhrman said. “I thought that contesting the recall would just add to the administrative time suck, the administrative bandwidth necessary to manage the recall.”

Fuhrman said he serves at the pleasure of Silverton residents and that also factored into his decision not to protest the recall petition. If residents no longer wanted him to serve, that was their prerogative, Fuhrman said, adding that he thought the grounds for the petition against him were all false except for the point that he did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Of the two ballot measures asking about off-highway vehicles, Measure 1 that asked if OHVs should be prohibited on all streets received 291 “yes” votes and 189 “no” votes.

Measure 2, which asked if all municipal streets, alleys and rights of way within Silverton should be designated year-round OHV routes, received 117 “yes” votes and 324 “no” votes.

History of the recall

The three recall petitions against Fuhrman, Barney and Bierma were filed July 19 with the Silverton clerk’s office, and a special municipal election was subsequently scheduled for Tuesday.

The petition demanding a recall of Fuhrman accused him of using his position as mayor “to enrich himself” and said that he purchased the only affordable apartment building in town to convert it into condominiums and vacation rentals.

The petitioners also accused Fuhrman, along with Bierma, of refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at a trustees meeting on April 12.

Fuhrman refuted some of those claims on his website. However, he does not dispute refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The recall petition for Barney said she “took an oath to uphold the constitution of the state of Colorado, which shows she isn’t here to stand up for Silvertonians.”

The petition also accused Barney of voting out economic growth for people and small businesses in town after campaigning for supporting local workers and affordable housing; it said she wanted more data to make any recommendations about whether to allow OHVs on Silverton streets; and said Barney lacks an understanding of trustee meeting laws and issues within the community.

The petition calling for Bierma’s recall said he lied about his views on OHVs and “voted out economic growth for people who have lived or want to own a small business.”

Each of the three recall petitions were signed by Cole Davenport, Gigi Raine and Floyd Barela.

Should OHVs on Silverton streets be expanded or disbanded?

The ballot contained two questions related to OHVs. One question asked voters whether the municipal code should be amended to allow OHVs on all town streets and alleys.

A “yes” vote on OHVs would allow them on all town streets, alleys and rights of way.

A “no” vote would retain the current routes as enforced by the municipality.

Another OHV ballot question asks voters if OHVs should be prohibited from all streets, alleys and rights of way.

A “yes” vote would block the use of OHVs on all streets, alleys and rights of way.

A “no” vote would retain current town code and continue allowance of OHVs on routes currently designated by the town of Silverton.

Silverton Resolution No. 2021-06 said that if the conflicting measures were both approved by voters, the item with the most affirmative votes would be passed.

In April 2020, voters of the town of Dolores rejected a similar ballot measure that would have allowed OHVs on town streets if approved.


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