ELN: Commission will continue to have three members
By GARY HARMON
The Mesa County Commission will remain a three-member panel, with voters turning down a bid to expand it to five members.
County voters turned down the idea of expanding the board by a solid 58 percent to 42 percent margin, or 32,046 votes to 22,989 according to early, unofficial returns.
The idea failed despite the support of Republicans and Democrats, as well as farmers, ranchers and city dwellers, said Jim Spehar, one of the leaders of the group promoting the expansion.
Voters, however, “couldn’t get around the idea of a bigger government,” he said.
The five-commissioner idea “is probably dead for now,” Grand Junction Mayor Gregg Palmer said.
Voters saw it as much the same as other measures on the ballot that called for spending more money.
As with many other issues on the ballot that called for more spending, “It was probably the expense,” Palmer said.
Voters seemed to believe the idea that with government, “Less is more,” said Commissioner Craig Meis, who voted to place the measure on the ballot, but opposed its passage.
Early returns showed that voters favored allowing three commissioners to be elected from districts and two at-large if the voters agreed to expand the board at all.
The county now has twice rejected expanding the commision in this decade, turning down an effort to make it a home-rule county and now rejecting the expansion.