Friday, June 19, 2015

City tax polls in the works

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 1:56 PM

click to enlarge VÉRONIQUE DEBORD-LAZARO
  • Véronique Debord-Lazaro

Although the city isn't releasing them, two voter polls apparently are in the works about funding of infrastructure.

The first deals with the city's $2.1 million in excess revenue collected last year in violation of caps imposed by the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. (Notice how the name of that bill is misstated in the poll intro.) 

The second deals with a tax increase to fund the city's crumbling streets. 

These polls were sent to us by TABOR author and anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce, who says he got them from someone to which it was sent by Councilor Don Knight. When we asked Knight and the City Council office and the city communications office for the polls, we were told by communications specialist Kim Melchor, "I know the poll is still in coordination, but we are still working the details on when/how the poll will be administered. Pam, I understand you have a draft copy of the poll, but because it is not final I am unable to release at this time."

We hear that Colorado Springs Forward, a group of wealthy mover and shakers who want to influence public policy, will fund the poll. It's unclear when it will be given to voters, or how, for that matter. 

Although said to be in draft form, here are the polls:
Excess Revenue Poll

In fiscal year 2014 the City of Colorado Springs took in total revenue that exceeded the level allowed by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights by $2.1 million. This excess was not caused by increased tax revenues for Colorado Springs, but rather by the fact that Colorado Springs received state grants to help deal with fire and flood disasters and those grants were counted against the revenue cap allowed by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. In light of this, the Mayor and City Council of Colorado Springs would appreciate you answering the following questions:

1. Considering the fact that the $2.1 million in excess revenue was caused by the receipt of disaster relief grants do you think Colorado Springs should be allowed to retain the $2.1 million for other projects or required to return it to taxpayers?

The city should retain it
The city should refund it to taxpayers

2. If Colorado Springs were allowed by voters to retain the $2.1 million, which of the following would you prefer it be used for:

To repair and renovate tennis, basketball and pickle ball courts in city parks.
For road repairs and trail improvements in city parks.
To purchase and maintain body cameras for Colorado Springs police officers.
To be applied to the $7.5 million cost of building a new Sand Creek substation for the Colorado Springs Police Department.
To be applied to the cost of acquiring a new evidence storage facility for the Colorado Springs Police Department.
To pay for renovations to the Colorado Springs fire department station #3.

3. What is your gender?

Male
Female

4. What is your age?

18-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65+

5. What is your ethnicity?
White
Hispanic or Latino
Black or African American
Other

6. What is your political affiliation?
Republican
Democrat
Unaffiliated
Other

Infrastructure Poll

As you may know, the City of Colorado Springs has a very large backlog of road and stormwater repair projects. The city needs to spend an additional $50 million per year for 10 years to significantly improve the condition of the roads in the city. It also needs to spend a minimum of $19 million per year to address critical stormwater needs and resolve legal issues with Pueblo County. This level of funding cannot be done from the existing city budget without dramatically reducing police and fire service. The city also cannot borrow the necessary amounts without jeopardizing the financial solvency of the city in future years. In light of this, the Mayor and the City Council of Colorado Springs would appreciate you answering the following questions:


1. If the Colorado Springs City Council refers a tax measure to the November 2015 ballot to raise funds for road and /or stormwater repairs, how likely are you to vote on the issue?

Extremely likely
Very likely
Likely
Not likely

2. Thinking about the seriousness of road infrastructure issues and stormwater infrastructure issues in Colorado Springs, which one is a higher priority for you?

Road repairs
Stormwater repairs

3. If the Mayor and City Council were able to use funds from the existing city budget to pay for necessary stormwater repairs, would you be willing to pay a higher sales tax or a property tax to be used solely for road repairs?

Yes
No

4. If a tax were imposed to raise approximately $50 million per year to be used solely for road repairs, which of the following would you prefer?

A sales tax increase of .62% that would cost the average household in Colorado Springs about $100 per year.
A property tax increase of 10.5 mils that would cost the average homeowner in Colorado Springs about $188 per year.

5. While the city indicates it needs to spend $50 million per year for up to 10 years to significantly improve city roads, which of the following would you prefer:

Any tax imposed be for five years and let voters decide whether to extend it for another five years.
Any tax imposed be for the full 10 years.

6. Would the fact that the city would put the proceeds of any tax increase into a separate fund be to be used solely on road repairs make you more or less likely to vote for a tax increase?

More likely
Less likely
Makes no difference

7. Would the fact that all road repairs funded by tax increase would be done by private contractors and no new city employees would be hired make you more or less likely to vote for a tax increase?

More likely
Less likely
Makes no difference

8. Would the fact that all road repairs would be cash funded on a pay-as-you-go basis and no debt would be incurred make you more or less likely to support a tax increase to fund the repairs?

More likely
Less likely
Makes no difference

9. Would the fact that spending $50 million per year on road repairs in Colorado Springs would have an economic benefit to the Pike's Peak region of $——-make you more or less likely to vote for a tax increase?

More likely
Less likely
Makes no difference

10. 38% of any sales tax increase would be paid for by tourists and other non-residents of Colorado Springs. Does this fact make you more or less likely to vote for a sales tax increase?

More likely
Less likely
Makes no difference


11. A sales tax increase would not apply to food purchases at a store and medicine purchases. Does this fact make you more or less likely to vote for a sales tax increase?

More likely
Less likely
Makes no difference

12. Do you believe the Mayor and City Council of Colorado Springs are moving in the right direction or the wrong direction in attempting to address road repair issues and stormwater issues?

Right direction
Wrong direction

13. What is your gender?

Male
Female

14. What is your age?

18-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65+

15. What is your ethnicity?

White
Hispanic or Latino
Black or African American
Other

16. What is your political affiliation?

Republican
Democrat
Unaffiliated
Other
As you might imagine, Bruce has plenty to say about all this. First, he accuses the city of lying to voters by saying the excess revenue was due to grants. While the city might have received grants last year, other revenue sources also played a role in pushing the city's revenue above the cap.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Latest in IndyBlog

All content © Copyright 2017, The Colorado Springs Independent

Website powered by Foundation