Since enough signatures were collected to put a "strong mayor" question on the ballot, Colorado Springs City Council was obligated to approve placing it on the ballot. It did so unanimously yesterday.
Councilors also unanimously agreed to ask voters to retain about $600,000 that was collected above the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights limit in 2009.
Voters will also need to decide whether or not to use approximately $500,000 a year from the dedicated Trails, Open Space and Parks .1 percent sales tax for city parks, trails and open space maintenance. Currently, the TOPS program has a very limited budget for maintenance, which can only be expended on TOPS-acquired properties. If approved, however, the $500,000 would be used for all city parks properties. The provision would sunset in two years.
Voters turned down a similar proposal last year.
Trails, Open Space and Parks Coalition executive director Susan Davies argued against putting the measure on the ballot, saying that if the measure was approved, voters would think they had fixed the parks funding problem, when in fact they had Patricia Clarkson, Devon Graye, Madeleine Martin, Danny Glover, John Cenaonly set aside enough money to water about 25 parks for two years. She suggested holding off until a long-term solution — which TOSC is currently mapping out — can be found.
A majority of Councilors, however, said parks couldn't wait that long.
"I proposed this a year ago," Councilor Tom Gallagher said, " and I still think it's the right way to go."