FOUNTAIN — Unofficial election results as of Wednesday night show 55% of voters in Fountain have said no to a tax hike to fund much-needed road repairs.
The City of Fountain's Ballot Issue 2B asked voters whether or not the city should join the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA). It would mean a 1% sales tax increase in return for more than $5 million in funding each year for capital road improvements. Right now the city's annual budget for road repairs is $750,000.
David Coney, a Fountain resident for 25 years, voted yes on the issue.
“I voted yes. I think it’s important for the roads to be funded. There’s things we can do and raising taxes here and there goes a long way," he said.
However, he and others in favor are outnumbered by the 1,700 voters who opposed 2B.
Before the election on Tuesday night, Fran Carrick and Penny Cimino, both long-time Fountain residents, held multiple meetings for citizens against the ballot issue. They said the city should reallocate money in the budget to fund the projects instead of asking taxpayers for more money.
"They want streets to be our priorities, but they don't convey that with the decisions that they make," said Cimino.
If passed, the combined sales tax in Fountain would increase to 8.53%, which is higher than the combined sales and use tax in Colorado Springs at 8.20%.
"Why would I want to pay more taxes here, but go to Colorado Springs for recreation for shopping?" said Carrick.
The two said even though this is the result they wanted, it is still not a win for residents as the city still needs to find a solution to fix its failing roadways and infrastructure.
Sharon Thompson, the Mayor of Fountain, sent News5 this statement on the rejection of 2B:
"We are grateful to all the voters who turned in a ballot and made their opinion known on this important issue. Whether they voted YES or NO, the most valuable outcome is that their voices were heard. When the Council placed this item on the ballot, we did so wanting to know how the citizens felt on this issue, and we now have an answer. We also understand that many won’t agree with the outcome, but we as a Council are here to listen and represent all voices in our community.
We thank all those who voted and we will now work to understand why they voted the way they did and if there are some different approaches to solving our City’s road needs. But the primary takeaway is that we respect the vote and will move forward accordingly."
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