Voters say 'no' to event center; give green light for measure 2B

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Voters were turning in their ballots up until the last minutes Tuesday night.

Still, election officials said voter turnout ended up being less than half...about 41 percent. That means out of the 36,000 ballots that were mailed out, more than 17,000 were turned in, which elections officials said is about average compared to previous elections.

Voters decided on two major ballot issues. They overwhelmingly said 'no' to measure 2-A. This was the most controversial of the two ballot measures. It would have increased the sales tax to pay for a new event center, and it would have paid for improvements to the Two Rivers Convention Center.

"The event center is one way for economic development, but it's not the only idea," said Land Balding, the campaign manager for 'Say Yes to Grand Junction' - a movement in support of 2A. "There are issues in this community that we hope to see improved."

Meanwhile, voters said yes to measure 2-B, which allows the city to reallocate money used to pay off the Riverside Parkway debt, and instead, pay for road repairs and improvements. The measure was passed by 63 percent.

The city manager was in full support of the measure and talked about which road projects are a top priority for the city.

"Riverside Parkway is our number one priority, along with 7th street, and voters will see a lot of road construction," said City Manager Greg Caton. "We've got a really aggressive plan in the coming years."

Aside from the two measures, there were several city council seats up for grabs.

Mayor Phyllis Norris retains her spot for District A. She beat out Jesse Daniels with 60 percent of the votes.

Meanwhile, Duke Wortmann beat out incumbent Martin Chazen for District B. He won 58 percent of the vote, compared to Chazen's 42 percent.

"Well, I'm certainly not shy. I'll call companies...I'll pick up the phone," Wortmann said. "I think I'm a very warm-hearted person when I'm speaking with people. I listen to what people say and I'm ready to drive jobs."

Duncan McArthur will stay put in District E. He ran unopposed.

Incumbent Rick Taggart won the at-large seat. He got 66 percent of the vote, which was a little more than 7,800 votes. He was up against Lincoln Pierce, who only got about 4,000 votes.

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