Saturday, October 4, 2014

Opinion: Vote Yes on 1A

Posted By on Sat, Oct 4, 2014 at 9:59 AM

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I’m doing something a little different this week. Instead of talking about a trail or where to see fall colors, this blog post is about an upcoming ballot issue that’s of great importance to all outdoors-lovers.

This November’s ballot will include El Paso County Question 1A, a measure to allow El Paso County to retain approximately $2 million in revenue that is in excess of Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights limits. If the measure is passed, the money will go to the El Paso County Parks Department and be used for a plethora of county parks projects, including trail improvements and rehabilitation of existing venues, and much-needed, countywide repairs after the 2013 floods.

Work that will be funded by the approval of 1A includes:

• Bear Creek Regional Park facility improvements.

• Black Forest Regional Park flood-damage repairs.

• Funding to plan and build an extension for the newly dedicated Ute Pass Regional Trail.

• Infrastructure improvements and upgrades to the El Paso County Fairgrounds.

• And, if Colorado Springs gives Jones Park to the county, which seems likely as of this writing, the land will get much-needed restoration work.

(For more on these and the many other projects listed under 1A, visit the Trails and Openspace Coalition website.)

The beauty of 1A is that it’s very specific in where the money will go; no wondering if the money will be wisely spent, or if it will end up being used elsewhere.

Most importantly, it’s not a tax increase. This is money the county already has. The county is merely asking for permission to keep it and use it to help the parks department. Every project is planned and defined; leaders are just waiting for you to say yes on 1A.

It’s either that, or taxpayers will get an $8.41 refund.

Sure, you can say no, and get your $8.41 back — and after a couple of lattes or a burger and fries, it’ll be gone. Or, you can say YES to 1A, and know that for the price of a single fast-food meal, you’ll be helping improve county parks, and, more significantly, the quality of life in El Paso County.

Vote YES on 1A. Lets give El Paso County’s parks a boost.

Bob Falcone is a firefighter, arson investigator, non-profit board president, college instructor, photographer, hiker and small business owner who has lived in Colorado Springs for 23 years. You can follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.
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