Ballots for the 2021 election were mailed Oct. 8 to 19,601 registered voters in Teller County. In an Oct. 7 report to the Teller County Board of County Commissioners, Stephanie Kees, deputy clerk and recorder, said they may take up to 10 days to arrive in the mail.

Sample ballots are on the county’s website, co.teller.co.us.

Ballot drop boxes are in Cripple Creek, Divide and Woodland Park, where the voting center will be open on Nov. 2, Kees added.

According to a report by County Administrator Sheryl Decker, 24,917 Teller County residents have received at least one vaccine shot for COVID-19, which is an increase of 320 over the week before. “And 54.1% of Teller County residents are up to date with their vaccines, an increase from 53.9%,” she said.

Of residents who are 65 and above, 75% are fully vaccinated, Decker added.

In the past 18 months, 2,506 county residents were diagnosed with COVID-19, with an increase in just one week of 123 cases. “Cases are climbing quickly, and the Delta variant seems to be what’s going on,” Decker said.

As of Oct. 4, five county residents were hospitalized. To date, 24 residents have died of the disease.

Commissioner Dan Williams said there will be no vaccine mandate in Teller County, although the commissioners encourage eligible residents to be vaccinated.

The state’s data for Teller County show that hospitalizations are occurring chiefly among the unvaccinated, said Commissioner Erik Stone. “Those are the facts,” he said.

“The data show that the outcomes are much better for those who are vaccinated than for those who are not,” Stone said. “We respect people’s choices; once they know that information, they can make their own decisions about their personal health.”

Despite the pandemic, Teller County is in a stable financial position. In presenting the 2022 budget to the commissioners, financial director Vicki Caldwell urged caution due to the unknowns about the long-term effects of unemployment and business closures.

Sales-tax revenue increased, and gaming taxes rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, Caldwell writes in the budget message. Before adopting the proposed budget of $38,002,546 in December, the commissioners scheduled a public hearing on Oct. 19 in the county’s Centennial Building. The budget and hearing schedules are available on the county website.

In other business, Sheriff Jason Mikesell paid tribute to several law-enforcement officers to include promotions. Those honored: Sgt. Jake Markus, for 10 years with the sheriff’s office and Christopher Paulsen, for 5 years.

For service above and beyond regular duty, Mikesell recognized Deputy Shea Williams and detention officers Brennan Proctor and Louis Valdovinos.

In a ceremony attended by spouses and friends, Mikesell announced recent promotions: Kevin Tedesco to Jail Commander; Lad Sullivan to Commander of Operations; and Deputy Renee Bunting to Lt. Commander of Community Operations.

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