Residents: Term limits for officials should stay

According to a recent survey, Mesa County residents do not want to extend the two-term limits for the sheriff, district attorney and coroner.

The survey was conducted Saturday during a telelephone-town-hall meeting with Mesa County officials. Registered voters with land-line telephones were called Saturday to participate. Other people, without hard-wired telephones, could call in and punch in a code to participate.

The tele-forum’s topic was the economy and Mesa County government’s reaction to the recession. The Mesa County commissioners, Mesa County Administrator Jon Peacock and Mesa County Work Force Center Director Sue Tuffin staffed the phone lines during the hour-long call.

The survey included 10 questions. A question regarding term limits drew the most responses and may foreshadow the upcoming November election in which voters will be asked to extend the terms of office from a maximum of two four-year terms to a maximum of three four-year terms.

Of the 308 responses, 147 (48 percent) said no to extending the term limits, 122 (40 percent) said yes, and the rest were undecided.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger is in his second term. If the voters do not approve a four-year extension, Hautzinger will not be able to seek re-election in 2012.

“I am in favor of term limits,” Hautzinger said.

But, he said, three terms (of four years each) should be the limit for the DA, sheriff and coroner.

“The voters would get more bang for their buck if they had the possibility of people in these positions serving 12 years rather than eight, but I think 12 years is more than enough, and I have always opposed the outright lifting of term limits,” Hautzinger said.

The second most answered question, with 303 responses, asked voters if they agree with Mesa County’s spending of stimulus dollars. Most people, or 43 percent, said they were undecided.

Mesa County has applied for stimulus funds and has been awarded some dollars for capital construction and infrastructure projects.

There are numerous entities within the county — such as towns, cities, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Grand Junction Regional Airport — that have received stimulus funds.

Mesa County has been specifically awarded $1.5 million for a Grand Valley Transit bus maintenance facility, and slightly more than $1 million was awarded for different health and social service programs, Mesa County spokeswoman Jessica Peterson said.


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