COLORADO SPRINGS — Voters in Colorado Springs are currently deciding on whether to give Ballot Question 2A a yes or no vote.
As required by Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the question asks to allow the city to retain just under $5 million of excess tax revenue.
City leaders want the money to help pay for a new police training academy.
“In exchange of a one-time credit of $21 for certain residents, would you be willing to invest in a project that benefits all households and all neighborhoods,” said Colorado Springs Mayor, Yemi Mobolade who supports the question.
One of the Mayor’s top priorities is improving public safety, and he believes a better police academy is key to making that happen.
“I turned in my ballot on Saturday, and I voted no on 2A,” said Colorado Springs City Council member Dave Donelson.
He said he is all for supporting police but is in opposition to 2A.
His issue is about what he considers fiscal responsibility.
“We knew we needed either improvements to a current training facility or a new training facility but we've done nothing, we've set aside no money. And our solution now is we'll take 4.75 million of your overpaid taxes.”
Donelson said if a police academy is a priority then other parts of the city budget should be shifted to come up with funding.
He also believes the tabor retention dollars tie the city to a project without concrete funding sources for the rest of the budget.
He said, “It's only going to cover a small percentage, we're still going to have to come up with the money for the majority of the cost of a training center. So, where's that going to come from?”
Mobolade said the 2A dollars would supplement multiple funding sources.
“The combination of our general fund, public safety sales tax, and potential certificate of participation, terms of what the balance is… most importantly too, is grant funding and that available to us in the federal and state level,” said Mobolade.
Donelson said, “When you overpay your taxes, the first solution shouldn't be well, let us just keep your overpayment and we'll figure out what to do with that.”
Mobolade counters that voters choosing to forego a small refund can make a combined big investment in the proposed new police academy.
“At the end of the day, if it costs 20 million, guess what, it's only going to cost us 15 million,” said Mobolade, “If this project at the end of the day, it costs 15 million, it's only going to cost us 10 million.”
A decision on 2A in now up to voters.
Here's the language on the ballots already sent out to registered voters in Colorado Springs:
City of Colorado Springs Ballot Issue 2A (Vote YES or NO)
Without imposing any new tax or increasing the rate of any existing tax, shall the city of Colorado Springs be permitted to retain and spend $4,750,000 for the purpose of acquiring property, planning, constructing, and equipping a training facility for the Colorado Springs Police Department, this amount being the estimated 2022 revenues above the 2022 fiscal year revenue/spending limitations, as a voter approved revenue change and exception to any constitutional, statutory, and charter revenue and spending limitations that may otherwise apply?
Ballots were mailed out by Clerk & Recorder's Offices starting on October 16. Your mail-in ballot is due by 7 p.m. on Election Night, Tuesday, November 7.
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.