Voters in El Paso County are deciding whether or not to allow the county to keep excess revenue for the purpose of supporting parks and open space.
The Taxpayers Bill or Rights, or TABOR, stipulates any excess revenue should be returned to residents, unless voters approve a measure allowing the county to put it to other use.
Ballot issue 1A seeks to retain more than $2 million for specific projects including resurfacing tennis courts at Bear Creek Park, constructing a park in the Falcon area, and restoring trails in the Black Forest Regional Park.
The Trails and Open Space Coalition is advocating for its passage. Executive Director Susan Davies says the funds would help play catch-up after the county slashed the parks budget during the recession.
"It’s a one-shot infusion of cash. It doesn’t solve the whole problem," says Davies. "But it will do a couple of important things: it will get projects going, it will allow for us to seek state and local match to try to get some of these projects to go even further, and I think it may just convince our policy-makers [that] people care about their parks."
If voters decide against the measure, El Paso County property owners would receive a credit of $8.41 per property on their 2014 taxes.
Opponents of the measure say TABOR makes enough adjustments for inflation and local growth, and that approval could mean the county might reallocate current parks funding.