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Pueblo West voters pass ballot issue 6D expanding Pueblo Metropolitan Fire District funding by $2.5 million

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Posted at 3:27 PM, Nov 10, 2022

PUEBLO WEST, CO — The vote is in and the people of Pueblo West overwhelmingly have shown their support for the passing of Pueblo West ballot issue 6D.

With its passing, people in Pueblo West will see the spending cap increase on funds raised from a 1% sales tax initiative for more fire protection passed back in 2020.

“Our voters have once again voiced their support for our local firefighters,” said Brian Caserta, Pueblo West Fire Chief and Pueblo West Metropolitan District Chief Administrator. “The passage of Ballot Question 6D further adds to the Pueblo West Fire Department’s resources, allowing us to better protect our citizens.”

Vote counts released Wednesday from the Pueblo County Elections showed the results at 61% approval signaling the imminent passage of the issue.

With the passage of 6D Pueblo West residents will not see tax increases. The ballot initiative's passing allows for the Pueblo West fire department to access another $2.5 million dollars of the tax revenue generated by ballot issue 6A.

When 6A passed in 2020 the measure secured $2.5 million dollars in guaranteed funding to the Pueblo West Metropolitan Fire District through a sales tax.

The tax raised upwards of $5 million in 2021 and is expected to do the same in 2022. With the passage of 6D the Pueblo West Metropolitan Fire District can now access all of this revenue for maintaining and expanding fire protections and equipment.

“Pueblo West covers an area of about 50 square miles, which is similar to the City of Pueblo. To ensure public safety to the level our residents deserve, we must continually address the needs of our community. With the passage of Ballot Issue 6D, we can ensure greater fire protection for Pueblo West,” Caserta said.

Below you can find the Ballot Issue 6D language, the fiscal year spending information and the summary of comments for and against the issue.

PUEBLO WEST METROPOLITAN DISTRICT BALLOT ISSUE 6D

WITHOUT IMPOSING ANY NEW TAX OR INCREASING THE RATE OF ANY EXISTING TAX, SHALL THE PUEBLO WEST METROPOLITAN DISTRICT BE PERMITTED TO COLLECT, RAIN, AND SPEND SALES TAX REVENUE IN THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $5,000,000 IN 2023, AND BY WHATEVER AMOUNTS ARE COLLECTED ANNUALLY THERE AFTER BYT THE IMPOSITION OF THE 1% SALES TAX APPROVED BY THE VOTERS IN NOVEMBER 20230, WHICH TAX SHALL EXPIRE ON DECEMBER 31, 2030, TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSES APPROVED IN 2020 AS WELL AS:

  • STAFFING DISTRICT FIRE STATIONS; AND
  • CONSTRUCTION OF ADDITIONAL FIRE STATIONS IN PUEBLO WEST

AND SHALL THE DISTRICT BE PERMITTED TO COLLECT, RETAIN AND SPEND ANY REVENUES RECEIVED IN 2021 AND 2022 AS A RESULT OF THE IMPOSITION OF SUCH TAX, AND WITH SUCH REVENUES TO BE COLLECTED, RETAINED, OR SPENT AS A VOTER-APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE AND AN EXCEPTION TO THE LIMITS WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE APPLY UNDER SECTION 20 OF ARTICLE X OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION OR ANY OTHER LAW.

FISCAL INFORMATION
Estimated or Actual Total of District Fiscal Year Spending

Year Fiscal Year Spending
2022 (estimated) 8,363,812
2021 (actual) 8,213,223
2020 (actual) 8,514,401
2019 (actual) 7,484,820
2018 (actual) 7,425,935

*Does not include spending from voter approved revenue from Marijuana Excise Tax.

Overall percentage change in fiscal year spending over the five-year period from 2018 to 2022: 12.6%

Overall dollar change in fiscal year spending over the five-year period from 2018 to 2022: $937,877

Estimated maximum dollar amount of proposed tax increase in firs full fiscal year: $2,500,000

**In 2020, voters approved ballot issue 6A that authorized up to $2,500,000 revenue from sales tax. This ballot issue would allow Pueblo Wet Metropolitan District to Jeep up to $5,00,00 from the 6A fire sales tax in 2023.

Estimate first full fiscal year spending without the proposed tax increase: $8,782,002

Summary of Written Comments FOR Ballot Issue No. 6D

Fire equipment is expensive and the excess could be used to buy new equipment. I want to address the 6D ballot initiative. This is not an increase in current taxes. This is simply a vote from the residents to us the overage collected from the 6A initiative for station improvements, staffing, new and updated equipment and trucks, and training among other things. We citizens are very lucky to have some of the best firefighters in the nation keeping us safe. As you know the 6A was voted in so we can get the highly needed fire station, firefighters, and eqt for the new southwest part of Pueblo West. Currently, with the increase in calls that have been seen do to the lack of coverage in the southwest part of PW. Since the vote we have already seen a reduction in our ISO rating, more firefighters on staff and being trained to our high standards we deserve, and more. With increased tourism and residents of surrounding cities shopping more here, we collected more money through the current tax than was expected. Due to Colorado laws the citizens will vote in November to either keep the coverage to be used for other station repairs and the improvements our firefighters deserve and help replace more outdated eqt. If the residents decide to as for a refund of the overage, it will simply be some form of a credit for a very low amount probably after at least one year. A lot of the overage was paid by tourists and outlying residents. Identifying who and how much everyone will get will be very costly which will result in an even smaller credit. I have heard figures from anywhere from $5.00 to possibly $50.00. Without researching who all paid (which I am not sure how you can track tourist and outsiders) it is hard to estimate how much will be returned. I have researched and the amount that can go directly for the repairs, improvements. Issue 6D will enable the Pueblo West Fire Department to continue to provide effective service for our community. Last year's fire department funding initiative was focused on building and staffing a new station to keep up with the growing demand for emergency services in our community. Replacing aging equipment and meeting additional staffing needs will enable the fire department to even better serve Pueblo West.

Summary of Written Comments AGAINST Ballot Issue No. 6D

I am opposed to the 6D ballot measure. The excess money should go back to the voters to determine where the "extra" money collected each year goes. This DOES NOT take away any money from the 6A sales tax funded fire station #2, they still received $2.5 million dollars!! Put the "extra" collected money towards another community need, like the trashed out fence along HWY 50, or fix the swimming pool, or mow every vacant lot in the district no matter who owns it! This is just extra money and it "could" have been put on this ballot language to let the voter pick another project or get a refund, but the Fire Department opted not to offer that to the voters. I'm happy to pay my share of 6A sales tax, but the extra money should be repurposed and go back into our community. What if 6C fails, this extra money could be presented to the voters next year and possibly put towards road repair. The choice should be ours, not theirs. Read the ballot, they are proposing to keep ALL extra money going forward. This is our one chance to vote this down and demand to use the "extra" money elsewhere, not just the fire department. If there are excessive funds bing generated by the 1% tax maybe the amount being collected should be reduced to lower the tax burden on the public.

News5 is helping you prepare for Election 2022 with guides to find out what's on the ballot, what it means to you, and where to deliver your ballot across the region. Click here for our Election Guide.

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