by Pam Zubeck
“To a large extent, these questions are going to determine how we move our city forward in the next few years,” said Mayor Suthers. “Sixty-two percent of our roads are in a state of rapid deterioration, and we’ve heard loud and clear that this is the biggest concern for our residents. It’s also a concern in terms of economic development and attracting new businesses to Colorado Springs.”
“Although the interests of our citizens vary, one message is consistent: citizens are tired of the condition of our roads. I agree. Our roads must be fixed. That is why I unequivocally support the Mayor’s proposal. With this ballot measure, the future of our roads is in the hands of the voters,” stated City Council President Merv Bennett.
In a formal public poll of Colorado Springs voters regarding possible solutions to address the city’s deteriorating stormwater and streets infrastructure, 58 percent of voters stated that if the Mayor and City Council were able to use funds from the existing city budget to pay for necessary stormwater repairs they would be willing to pay a higher sales tax or property tax to be used solely for road repairs. Based on a scenario to raise $50 million a year for road repairs, voters preferred funding repairs through a sales tax (69 percent), to a property tax (14 percent).
Voters were also polled about whether the $2.1 million in revenues from fiscal year 2014 that exceeded TABOR should be refunded to Colorado Springs residents or if the city should be allowed to retain the funds to be used towards other city projects. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they would support the city retaining the excess revenues, and 43 percent selected funding trail improvements in city parks as a preferred potential project. The City exceeded TABOR limits in 2014 due to receiving several post-fire and flood mitigation grants from the State of Colorado.
Mayor Suthers and City Council will now work together to finalize the ballot language for the two questions and provide it to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder by Sept. 4.