COLORADO SPRINGS — Public safety measures did well on ballots in Southern Colorado, including one setting aside $20 million dollars for expanding wildfire mitigation in Colorado Springs. "It's going to help us out, not only for our department, but for the whole community," said Colorado Springs Fire Chief, Randy Royal.
As required by Colorado’s TABOR amendment, question 2D asked voters to okay the city keeping the $20 million of excess tax revenue. "Just on interest alone we feel we're going to be able to do two to three times the mitigation efforts that we're doing today,” said Chief Royal, “So doubling or tripling value is good." In a unique plan the sum will be invested, with interest supplementing mitigation programs. The dollars do more than increase the current budget. Added value comes from leveraging the money. It can be used to secure grants requiring match dollars. There is potential as well, for sharing expenses with neighboring agencies also working to reduce wildfire risk.
The approach means the voter approved wildfire mitigation money, could contribute to mitigation programs for another 15 to 20 years. "We'll have more fires, and we want to be prepared for them," said Chief Royal.
He also thanked voters. Beyond supporting the fire department, Royal said this vote shows voters understand lowering wildfire danger in Colorado Springs needs to be a priority for public safety.