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May 3, 2011 12:33 PM by Andy Koen

Parks group to seek ballot initiative

A group calling themselves Great Parks - Great Communities plans to ask the El Paso County Commissioners to approve a ballot initiative seeking a 0.015 percent sales tax increase to fund operations and basic maintenance of parks, trails and open spaces in the county.

The Sustainable Parks Initiative is led by the Trails and Open Space Coalition has been holding public meetings to address funding cuts to local parks over the past 3 years. At a meeting last night, the group renamed themselves Great Parks - Great Communities.

In 2008, El Paso County Parks budget was cut from $2.4 million to $600,000 and in 2009, Colorado Springs City Council cut the parks budget from $19 million to $3 million.

A survey conducted by the group last month showed that voters would support the tax increase. Their survey indicated that 59 percent of voters would vote yes for a 1/10th cent sales tax increase for parks, and 53 percent would vote yes for a 1/4th of a cent increase.

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