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Dacono Voters Say No to Inclusion in High Plains Library District

November 8, 2018

Tori Ellsaesser, of Berthoud, looks for items in the juvenile fiction area of the Carbon Valley Regional Library in Firestone on Wednesday. Dacono voters rejected a measure to join the High Plains Library District.

Dacono voters turned down a property tax hike that would have brought the city into the High Plains Library District, disappointing city leaders who were hopeful last year’s closure of the Dacono Library would be remedied.

Ballot Issue 2C failed with 55.6 percent of the 1,152 votes counted in opposition to the measure.

The city-funded Dacono Library closed at the start of 2017, partly because of low participation rates and being unable to offer some online amenities contemporary library patrons expect, according to Mayor Joe Baker.

But he and other city officials were expecting High Plains to eventually open a new library building in Dacono if the measure passed, replacing the closed city facility with a library of more online and digital resources.

At the beginning of the year, about 1,050 Dacono residents had High Plains library cards they could use to check out books and some other physical items, according to district communications and marketing manager Kelli Johnson.

But Dacono card holders are limited from using most of the district’s online research databases, video streaming services and other digital resources.

“I think High Plains is very supportive of trying again in the future. We’re disappointed for the residents of Dacono. ... It’s our hope there will be another opportunity,” Johnson said.

High Plains has more than a dozen library facilities throughout northeast Colorado, with the closest to Dacono about a 12-minute drive away in Firestone. The district’s oversight of its member libraries and cooperation with municipal library boards came under scrutiny in 2014 due to philosophical differences between district officials and leaders of small towns it served, the Greeley Tribune reported .

“It is very disappointing to have my constituents personally call me and ask why they don’t have a library in Dacono, or why they’re not allowed to benefit from some of the amenities of High Plains because it’s limited, and then not support the inclusion in the district,” Baker said.

The 3.249 mill levy increase proposed by the failed measure would have increased the annual property tax by about $70 on a home worth $300,000.

Baker hopes to make a push to put the library district issue back on the ballot in the future, but also acknowledged that voters turned down a nearly identical question in 2005.

He said the same result Tuesday means “Dacono has made it loud and clear about how they feel about High Plains Library District.” He added the city is unlikely to reopen a municipally-funded library.

City Council-elect Jackie Thomas, in a text message Wednesday said, “Still would love to have our own library here in Dacono, we will be ready for it at some point in the future.”

Mayoral, City Council raises rejected

A measure that would have raised the pay for the mayor from $75 to $300 per city council meeting, and from $50 to $150 per meeting for city council members, was rejected with 71.9 percent of voters opposed.

Voters also turned down a measure that would have allowed members of the city’s volunteer boards and commissions to potentially be paid, with 66.3 percent of voters opposed.

Public meeting notices move online

Dacono voters supported removing a requirement notices of town meetings be posted in five physical places with 64.8 percent of voters’ support. Notices now only have to posted at City Hall and on the city’s website.

Personnel Board eliminated

The city’s Personnel Board, which rarely met in recent years, was eliminated with 53.4 percent of voters’ support.

Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, slounsberry@prairiemountainmedia.com and twitter.com/samlounz .

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