Story was updated at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 8
Westminster residents approved a plan that could lead to ward voting in the city and said yes to three plans that broaden municipal authority for the city manager.
A question asking residents if they wanted the city to present a plan for creating geographic wards or voting districts received enough support to win, with 13,153 yes votes compared to 11,774 no votes according to unofficial results in the 2023 election as of 11:30 a.m. Nov. 8.
The city asked residents if they wanted to create a commission to review council districts at the polls in 2021, but voters turned that question down.
All members of the City Council are elected at large, by all Westminster residents.
Proponents of council districts have said voting would give individual neighborhoods better representation on the council and would make it easier for candidates without a lot of money to run campaigns since they would only need to focus on voters in their ward rather than the entire city.
Now, councilors will have two years to come back to voters with a plan to create some form of geographic voting.
In other issues, voters approved three management questions. A question that allows the city to adopt a fund-type budgeting system won approval 14,296 votes to 9,567 votes.
A question that asked to move the city’s fiscal deadline from July 31 annually to Sept. 1 also won easily. Voters approved that measure by 18,864 votes to 5,486
A third financial question asked if the city manager could appoint a staff member to verify appropriations are in place before any contract or agreement is signed. That measure passed 15,449 votes to 8,737.
Voters also overwhelmingly approved a measure allowing the city to post meeting notices, ordinances and other legal documents to the city’s website rather than a newspaper. That measure passed 20,520 votes to 3,931.
At least 35 Colorado cities and towns have asked voters to let them opt out since 2008, and voters agreed to that change in 31 of those ballot measures.
Westminster’s ballot question gives city officials a choice, asking voters to permit the city to post meeting notices and ordinances on the city’s website, in newspapers or both – whichever they deem most effective. The current ordinance requires newspaper publication.
Westminster is currently required to publish legal notices in Colorado Community Media’s publication the Westminster Window.