Thoughts on 2A & HH
Including Councilmember Dave Donelson's Views on 2A in a Letter to the Gazette below:
2A: A "yes" vote supports authorizing the city to spend $4.75 million for the purposes of constructing and equipping a training facility for the Colorado Springs Police Department.
A "no" vote opposes authorizing the city to spend $4.75 million for the purposes of constructing and equipping a training facility for the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Tabor Refund to "seed" fund $4,750,000 of taxpayer dollars for a $40? $50? $60 million police training center. Here are questions to ponder. For starters, it's troubling that there's no clarity on the actual cost for this building or a firm use plan for it. Many people have correctly asked if we need another building. Will a building really improve recruitment and retention of police? Do people take or keep jobs because of buildings? Do we have existing buildings we can use? Who really benefits here: a developer, or developers, who are chosen to build this building? Do we really want to build more and who will be funding additional $35-? million in total costs. Amidst a mushrooming city budget with plans to cut funding for police and fire safety, are there more fiscally responsible ways like cutting some of the bureaucratic jobs added to city staff to avoid cutting funding for essential city services? For example, Steve Posey is the new Housing Czar and making $160,000? Doesn't City Planning oversee land use plans? Even better, shouldn't these decisions be from the people who live in the neighborhoods? How many of these newly created, high paying jobs under Mayor Mobolade could be eliminated before asking the people to give more to fund government's primary obligation to protect the public?
Councilmember Dave Donelson's Letter to the Gazette on 2A
You should vote NO on 2A for two common sense reasons. Before I go further I want to
make it clear that I strongly support the Colorado Springs Police Department and Law
Enforcement in general. My support for law enforcement doesn’t change the fact that this
TABOR retention is a bad idea.
Reason number 1: There is no plan - other than getting the citizens to vote to give up their
TABOR refunds and allow the city to keep them. That $4.75 million will go into an account and
the city will try to figure out an actual plan later. When the mayor and Chief of Police were
asked a few basic questions by city council, such as “What will it cost?”, “Where will we build it”,
“What will it include (shooting range, driving track, etc)?” they did not have answers to any of
these questions. They are still trying to figure them out. If you took a proposal like this to a
bank and asked for a loan they would laugh you out of the building. This is a formula for cost
overruns and additional requests for more tax dollars.
Reason number 2: How are we going to pay for it? The $4.75 million will likely turn out to
be less than 10% of what is needed to build a new facility. Where will the rest of the money
come from? In typical government fashion the plan is to borrow it. However, due to decreasing
city revenues (sales tax collections) and the weakening economy, the mayor’s 2024 budget
actually proposes to CUT operations and maintenance (O&M) in all city departments by 3.4% in
2024. The mayor’s proposed budget will also take $10 million dollars from our city’s reserve
fund and spend it in 2024 just to keep the cuts from being larger than that. That is like raiding
your emergency fund. We are not in a position to take on additional debt.
The mayor’s 3.4% O&M cuts even include CSPD. So at the same time he is leading a
campaign to make you feel guilty if you don’t support a half baked plan for a poorly defined
training center, he is cutting real 2024 funding for our police.
City Council learned a few days ago that that 3.4% O&M cut in CSPD will result in 8,000
hours less overtime available for CSPD. That will result in a decrease in CSPD’s ability to
perform basic tasks - like enforce speed limits on our streets. It is also a fact that one of the
ways CSPD proposes to handle the 3.4% cut is by decreasing the size of Police Training
Academy classes in 2024. So at the same time we are being told we need to support this
TABOR retention because we are short officers and need larger classes - we are cutting the
size of our current classes because we need to save money.
The Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR) limits the amount of sales tax revenue that the city is
allowed to keep. You, the citizens, have overpaid by almost 5 million dollars and are due a
refund. As usual the city wants to keep that refund. In order to convince you to let them keep
it, they once again propose to use it on something that citizens rightly believe is important. This
year it is for a police training center. This should have been planned for in the city’s budget, just
as you and I plan for important neccestities in our budgets.
Why does the city repeatedly wait until citizens are due a refund, and then discover an
emergency which requires keeping your overpaid taxes? Because it continues to get away with
it. This time, let’s say NO, and require the city to present a real plan so we can be sure of what
we are getting and what it will cost. Let’s discourage the city from coming up with an
emergency every time you are due a tax refund. Join me, a strong police supporter, in voting
NO on 2A.
HH: A "yes" vote supports making various changes to state property taxes and revenue limits, including:
reducing property tax rates;
allowing the state to retain and spend revenues that it would otherwise be required to refund to residents under the Colorado Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR);
creating a new, increased cap on state revenue, allowing the state to retain and spend additional revenue each year up to the Proposition HH Cap;
allocating revenue to local governments to make up for decreased property tax revenues; and
creating a limit on local government property tax revenue.
A "no" vote opposes making changes to property taxes and state revenue limits.
This removes Tabor protections from everyone and shifts tax refund money from low income renters to higher income home owners. It prioritizes tax refunds for property owners. Isn't that punitive against lower income renters? It allows the state to retain all Tabor money through at least 2032, and allow the state to retain revenue after 2032 without further voter approval as long as property tax reductions hold. If your income is less than $99,000/year, then your tax Tabor refunds decrease. If your income is greater than $99,000/year, then your Tabor refund Does that seem wise? If the government wants to lower our taxes, then why not do that so everyone gets the same benefit?