@springsgov: TABOR surplus — stormwater or taxpayer refund?

Colorado Springs with the Front Range in background. Photo credit Wikipedia.
Colorado Springs with the Front Range in background. Photo credit Wikipedia.

From KOAA.com (Greg Dingrando):

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers has made a change to his plan on how to spend the city’s $9 million surplus.

With the TABOR law, how to spend the money will ultimately be up to the voters, but the city can request to use it.

Originally, if he got voter approval, the mayor was wanting to spend all of the money on storm water improvements. But the alternative option of $50 in pocket would have likely been more appealing to voters.

With Colorado Springs’ ongoing flood issues and looming lawsuits from Pueblo, the decision was pretty easy for some voters.

“I’d say fix the storm water,” resident Craig Lindal said “I’d go with storm water. Help get more drains in so there’s not as much floods and stuff,” resident Juan Lopez said…

Suthers proposed the city should get $6 million for storm water and the remaining $3 million plus will go back to the voters.

“I think its also nice to reward consumers spending that money and refund as much as we can,” Suthers said, all while addressing what he calls the city’s top priority. “This allows us to make investment in an area we have significant legal problems and hopefully solve that problem.”

Suthers said it could also protect the city down the road. For the next five years the city has to pay $17 million a year on storm water to avoid getting sued. Suthers said using money from the surplus will save general funds in the future.

“Being able to apply the $6 million now in good times to save and invest that will shield us from having to make any cuts if there’s a downturn a couple years from now,” Suthers said.

The council will vote on the proposal Tuesday to put it on the April ballot. Either way, voters are in a pretty good position. If they say no to the city, roughly $50 will go back to each household through a utility bill reduction. If voters say yes, the city gets $6 million for storm water and each household would get about $20 back.

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