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City asks voters to keep some surplus for stormwater - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

City asks voters to keep some surplus for stormwater

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Sample ballot for Colorado Springs municipal election Sample ballot for Colorado Springs municipal election
Map of 26 stormwater projects by the City of Colorado Springs. Map of 26 stormwater projects by the City of Colorado Springs.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

One of the questions facing voters in the City of Colorado Springs Municipal Election is how much of a tax refund they want. Under the growth limits of the Tax Payers Bill of Rights Amendment (TABOR) government revenue can only grow year to year at a rate equivalent of inflation plus population growth.  Any amount above that limit must be refunded unless voters specifically authorize the government to spend it.  

The City of Colorado ran a surplus of $9 million in 2016. City Council referred Issue 2 to the ballot back in January. It asks voters to keep $6 million of that surplus, refunding the other $3 million, so that the City can spend more on stormwater improvements.

The City would spend the money on 26 specific stormwater improvement projects.

Mayor John Suthers believes there are two good reason to vote yes, and they both involve keeping the City out of court.

"Number one, we've got an intergovernmental agreement with Pueblo where we've agreed to expend a certain amount per year which is what awe had agreed to expend under a storm water enterprise we used to have," Suthers said.

Number 2, a lawsuit already filed in November by the EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment over excess sediment in Fountain Creek.

Suthers explained that this $6 million the City wants to keep would be spent on top of the average $17 million per year already going to stormwater improvements.

"If we're able to get this money and spend like $23 million, then we'll be protected if the economy turns down and we can only spend 15 million or 14 million in the out years."

Laura Carno understands that but doesn't think stormwater is some big crisis.

"In general, there's nothing wrong with them asking us, but it give us the opportunity to say we think you've done a good things with our tax money so here's some more or we don't think you've done good things with our tax money so we'd like our refund please."

She bought a series of radio advertisements with her political campaign I Am Created Equal to criticize the mayor and urge more belt tightening. Carno points to the unpopular bike lanes on Research Parkway as an example of how to not spend the people's money.

"The area residents didn't ask for it, didn't want it and it's been disbanded but that was $10,000 that was wasted."

Carno's group is just one of many that are spending money in this election cycle trying to convince you to either vote "Yes" or "No" on Issue 2.

The full text of the measure is as follows:

WITHOUT INCREASING TAXES, SHALL THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS BE PERMITTED TO RETAIN AND SPEND UP TO $6,000,000, THE ESTIMATED 2016 FISCAL YEAR REVENUE ABOVE THE 2016 FISCAL YEAR REVENUE AND SPENDING LIMITATIONS, AND A LIKE AMOUNT OF ANY EXCESS REVENUE IN FISCAL YEAR 2017, SOLELY FOR STORMWATER PROJECTS LOCATED WITHIN THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS, ALL AS REQUIRED OF THE CITY UNDER LAW, PERMIT OR CONTRACT, AS A VOTER APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE AND EXCEPTION TO ANY CONSTITUTIONAL OR CHARTER LIMITATIONS THAT MAY OTHERWISE APPLY,WITH EXCESS REVENUE IN FISCAL YEARS 2016 AND 2017 BEYOND THIS $6,000,000 REVENUE CHANGE TO BE REFUNDED TO TAXPAYERS IN SUCH MANNER AS COUNCIL SHALL DETERMINE?

Click here for more information on the Colorado Springs municipal election

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