Colorado Springs Independent

El Paso County Sheriff's tax referred to November ballot

Pam Zubeck Sep 12, 2018 1:00 AM
El Paso County Sheriff's Office
The Rural Enforcement Outreach Unit is one of the departments funded with 1A.

Voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to extend the El Paso County Sheriff's Office's .23 percent sales tax to fund law enforcement and public safety. The tax was originally approved by voters in 2012 and became effective in 2013. It expires at the end of 2020.

The extension — like its predecessor — will be called 1A on the ballot, and asks for another eight years for the tax, meaning if approved it would expire at the end of 2028.

The tax now generates more than $22 million a year, though the 2012 measure estimated revenues at $17 million annually. The county said in a release the money will fund added patrol and detention deputies, investigators and support staff, as well as more wildland firefighting apparatus and emergency facilities and equipment.

The tax has raised more than $100 million since it began, and neither former Sheriff Terry Maketa nor Sheriff Bill Elder has spent it all. Still, Elder is looking for ways to save money, among them reducing training for jail deputies, and finding ways to stem turnover, which has clocked in at 32 percent since Elder became sheriff on Dec. 31, 2014.