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Special election will have two separate ballots

Residents will vote on metro district directors, fire rescue unification


This May, residents of Highlands Ranch will have the opportunity to vote on two significant community issues in a special election.

On one ballot, the Highlands Ranch Metro District will ask voters to elect four new members to the metro district's board of directors, which acts as the local government. On a separate ballot, South Metro Fire Rescue will ask residents if they support cutting ties with the City of Littleton for fire rescue services and merging with South Metro.

Residents will be able to vote on both ballots at four polling locations in Highlands Ranch on May 8.

Board of directors

Voters will elect four new members to the Highlands Ranch Metro District Board of Directors, a seven-member board that acts as the local government for the unincorporated area. Duties of the board include budget preparation, maintenance of roadway landscaping and parks and open space, provision of fire protection and construction of storm drainage facilities and major roadways, according to the metro district's website.

Residents interested in running for a four-year seat on the board must submit a self-nomination and acceptance form by 5 p.m. on March 2 to the metro district office, 62 Plaza Drive. Forms are available at the office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., or at www.highlandsranch.org.

Voters will fill the seats of current directors Jim Worley, who represents the northwest region of Highlands Ranch; Carolyn Schierholz, who represents the south central region; Allen Dreher, who covers the southeast region; and Mark Dickerson, who covers the west central region.

Ballots must be received at one of the five polling places in Highlands Ranch by 7 p.m. on May 8. An absentee ballot application, available on the metro district's website, may be filed with the metro district's designated election official at the metro district office during regular business hours until Tuesday, May 1. All absentee ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on May 8.

For more information about the Metro District director election, contact Terry Nolan at 720-240-4910 or tnolan@highlandsranch.org.

Fire rescue unification

Voters will decide if Highlands Ranch will be included in the service area boundaries of South Metro Fire Rescue.

For 37 years, fire rescue service in Highlands Ranch has been provided by Littleton Fire Rescue, in partnership with the Littleton Fire Protection District, per a contract agreement with the City of Littleton, according to the metro district's website. The metro district owns firefighting equipment and two fire stations in Highlands Ranch, and has joint ownership of a third station with the City of Littleton and Littleton Fire Protection District. Littleton Fire Rescue staffs these stations.

On Nov. 29, 2017, the metro district announced plans to merge with South Metro Fire Rescue due to increasing costs and a need for improved services and financial sustainability. The change in fire rescue service would take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

If approved, South Metro Fire Rescue would begin assessing its tax of 9.25 mills on property in Highlands Ranch — the same rate applied across its entire service area — according to a fire rescue unification information page on the metro district's website. Because it would no longer contract for fire services, the metro district would decrease its tax rate by 7 mills. Taxpayers would pay an additional $1.35 per month per $100,000 of appraised home value, the metro district says.

On May 8, residents will use a separate ballot coordinated by South Metro Fire Rescue to vote on the fire service unification. The polling locations are the same as the metro district vote. Absentee ballot applications, available at www.southmetro.org/410/Election-Information, will be accepted at the fire headquarters, 9195 E. Mineral Ave., Centennial, 80112, during business hours until May 1. Absentee ballots are due by 7 p.m. on May 8.

Highlands Ranch polling locations

• The District office building: 62 Plaza Drive

• Westridge Recreation Center: 9650 Foothills Canyon Blvd.

• Southridge Recreation Center: 4800 McArthur Ranch Road

• Eastridge Recreation Center: 9568 University Blvd.

• The Highlands Ranch Mansion: 9950 E. Gateway Drive


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