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City council votes against plastic bag fee ballot question

Posted at 5:31 PM, Aug 11, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — A question asking if Colorado Springs should add a 10 cent fee to plastic bags will not be on the ballot this November. Colorado Springs City Council voted against a measure Tuesday afternoon.

The proposal would have added the fee to plastic bags only in the city, with 60 percent of the fee going towards the city and the business retaining the other portion of the cost.

Plans for the fee included applying the funds to efforts such as cleanup efforts for parks, public rights of ways, and stormwater. As well as providing reusable bags for people to pick up from local libraries or other city facilities.

The idea of using the money for park cleanup, something voters were open to. "We're on the west side so we notice it a lot, I know there's a lot of camps and stuff," Whitney Ayala said.

However, others voiced concerns at Tuesday's meetings over the additional cost and burden to low-income residents in Colorado Springs. Other concerns came up with current COVID restrictions preventing most people from using reusable bags.

The ordinance wouldn't have gone into effect next year, something Council President Richard Skorman pointed out would hopefully be a time where the virus isn't as prevalent. Several members of the public were open to a vote on the November even if they were against the idea.

Similar fees already exist in cities throughout Colorado, such as Boulder and Telluride. An effort to put a statewide bag fee in place has failed in a previous attempt at the state legislature.