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Voters appear to reject funding for the Colorado Springs Police Academy

Posted at 10:44 PM, Nov 07, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Voters in Colorado Springs appear to have rejected a ballot question asking that the city keep excess tax money to fund a new police academy.

It's something that Mayor Yemi Mobolade touted during his campaign as part of his focus on improving public safety.

Ballot Question 2A asked voters to decide if the city should retain $4.75 million in TABOR funds to help acquire and outfit a new police training facility. If voters reject the issue, every resident with a Colorado Springs Utilities account will see a roughly $20 refund.

If the measure failed, Mayor Mobolade said the city would dip into its reserves or that he'd pursue a bond measure to create a new training space to help with police recruitment and retention of officers.

The Mayor's office sent the following statement on Wednesday morning:
“Thank you to all the voters who supported ballot issue 2A. While this issue unfortunately did not pass, I know we are a community who supports our police department. To our police officers, who we rely on to keep us safe, please know that our city and my administration is firmly behind you. Our residents are asking for a safer Colorado Springs, and we are committed to delivering on that expectation. Despite this result, the new facility for the Police Training Academy will still be constructed. As always, we will get creative piecing together the funding needed to ensure our community is safe. Public safety remains my top priority, and we are focused on improving recruiting, retention and response times. In the spirit of delivering a government that is transparent, proactive and approachable, you can continue to follow the progress of the new police training facility at ColoradoSprings.gov/PoliceTrainingFacility.

Colorado Springs Police tell News5 it has 768 sworn officers including its new academy class, which puts it 50 officers short of a full force.

As far as the cost, Mobolade has estimated that a new police training academy could cost as much as $45 million. He has said that retrofitting another space would land somewhere between $12 million and $21 million. So, the nearly $5 million in excess TABOR funds the city asked voters to keep won't cover the total cost. It would effectively act as seed money when combined with the $1.8 million that the city set aside in public safety sales tax revenue.

This proposition to voters went onto the ballot in April 2023 after the city council approved it 7-1, with District One Councilman Dave Donelson in the minority.

Ahead of the vote, he questioned whether a TABOR measure was necessary to build a training academy and whether the funds should be spent on other city needs, such as affordable housing. Others have expressed concerns about whether adding to the police force is a good idea, with worries over how it would disproportionately affect disenfranchised communities.

See all of the November 7, 2023 Coordinated Election Results

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