COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers plans to expand the city's police and fire services as the community continues to grow. His proposed budget for 2023 increases spending at CSPD by $926,000 to pay for 15 new police officers as well as the purchase of new vehicles to support new officers hired this year. The fire department budget would also grow by $1.6 million over 2022 to pay for 32 new firefighters needed to staff Stations 24 and 25 which are expected to open by 2024.
Other city services likes parks and public works also saw year-over-year increases thanks to optimistic sales tax projections which are expected to finish this year up 13 percent.
"We are still seeing increases in our sales tax in part due to inflation," Chief Financial Officer Charea McDaniel explained at a news conference Monday. "We expect that to continue through 2023 but at a more modest rate."
The proposed 2023 budget anticipates a 3 percent increase in sales tax revenue next year.
While inflation is bringing in higher revenue, it's also driving up costs. The proposed budget increases salaries for all civilian and sworn (police and fire) employees by $11.3 million to adjust for the cost of living. City funding to Mountain Metro Transit would also grow by $1.2 million under the mayor's proposal to cover increased contract and operating costs.
The mayor's request includes $2 million in one-time funding for new equipment and to combat litter and clean up streets and medians. The budget extends funding for 11 positions added this year as part of the Keep It Clean COS program.
City-wide staffing increases would grow the budget by $3.1 million. That additional funding would pay for two new positions at Garden of the Gods park, and four additional park rangers for park and trail safety throughout the city. The Public Works Department would grow by 12 position to address increased demands for service to fulfill state-mandated utility location projects.
City Council will hear from department heads about mayor's budget proposal at a work session on Monday, October 17. The public is invited to provide feedback during a public hearing and town hall on the budget a week later on October 24. Council will then hold three more meetings in October, November, and December to discuss and approve the budget.
Visit the City's budget web page to view the proposal in detail. Citizens can provide feedback to City Council during the budget hearing and town hall meeting as well as by contacting individual council members.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.