City road tax wins by huge margin

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Council President Merv Bennett shows his exuberance at both city measures passing with flying colors. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Council President Merv Bennett shows his exuberance at both city measures passing with flying colors.

Declaring victory at about 7:15 p.m. City Council President Merv Bennett announced the city's road tax passed by a big margin, 68 percent to 32 percent, with a good portion of the votes counted.

"This is great day for the city of Colorado Springs," he said. "The significance of it, if you look at all the people in this room and all the people who worked to make this successful, that's the way we're going to change the culture of Colorado Springs and make this a can-do city."

The road sales tax, .62 of 1 percent, will bring in roughly $250 million over the next five years to repair the city's decrepit road system that had become a symbol of the city's broken city government. But eight of nine Council members signed on to the tax hike proposed by Mayor John Suthers, who won the mayor's race last spring with 68 percent of the vote.

The city's proposal to keep $2.1 million in excess revenue to repair trails also was winning handily.

Councilor Don Knight vowed to be a watchdog over spending the road tax money, saying, "It's really our job to be the voice of the people and make sure the dollars are put where they're supposed to be." He also vowed to make sure the road work, all of which will be outsourced to contractors, is done correctly so that the city isn't faced with resurfacing roads four or five years down the road.

"I think inspections are going to be a critical part of it," he said.

Meantime, the so-called "reform team" running for seats on the Colorado Springs School District 11 board were losing. Prevailing were Elaine Naleski, Nora Brown, Theresa Null and Michael Herrera in early returns.

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