City mail ballots coming out soon
The municipal election is a mail ballot, which are being sent out to registered voters living within the city limits some time next week. (Monday, March 12, is the first day they could be mailed.)
The ballot includes a Yuma City Council election, as well as a tax question in regards to marijuana sales.
There are four candidates for four seats up for election. There still is an election because the candidate who receives the least amount of votes will get the seat carrying a two-year term. That seat will be up for election again in 2020 in order to return to its normal rotation.
Candidates are Ron Swehla, Luke Goeglein, Steve Hoch and Ryan Saffer. Swehla, Goeglein and Hoch currently are on the council, though Hoch and Goeglein both have been appointed to fill open seats. Saffer is seeking his first term on the council. Current council member Jim Haag is not seeking another term.
Look for more on the candidates in a future edition of the Pioneer.
The tax question asks voters to approve the city increase tax revenue by up to $1 million annually, through a sales tax of at least 5 percent on the sale of marijuana, with wiggle room to increase the sales tax to as much as 10 percent without further voter approval.
It is the same ballot measure that was narrowly defeated, 635-657, in the November 2016 election.
Currently, there is not any effort underway to bring a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary to Yuma. That would require a separate vote by the electors. Such a question could be presented as a citizens’ initiative.
If the marijuana sales tax question is approved, it means the city will have a tax system in place in the event a dispensary ever was to open in Yuma. If the city does not have such a system in place, and dispensaries are approved through a citizens-initiated ballot question, the city would not be able to generate its own sales tax revenue off the sales.
It has been noted the tax would only impact those who would purchase marijuana products from a dispensary if one were to ever locate here.
The revenue limit of $1 million is set high on purpose because the city would have to reimburse revenue collected above the limit, so it is intentionally set high.