County asks public to weigh in on TABOR refunds, road projects
Last updated 8/11/2021 at 12:30pm
El Paso County residents are invited to attend and participate in two meetings during the month of August in which County Commissioners will discuss a possible November ballot question to fund road infrastructure projects and deferred parks maintenance. The meetings will be held during the board's regularly scheduled Tuesday meetings on Aug. 17 and 24.
The Board of County Commissioners will refund $7.1 million in excess 2020 revenues to taxpayers regardless of how the question under review moves forward. The 2020 refund is important to ensure full community recovery from COVID-19. Without raising taxes, the proposed ballot question would enable the county to address around $15 million of backlogged road and parks projects by allowing the county to retain funds collected in 2021 above the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) cap. The proposal would restrict the $15 million of the revenue for specific road infrastructure and parks projects, reset the cap to reflect 2021 revenue.
"El Paso County Commissioners respect our citizens and understand people want to live here in large part because our tax burden is the lowest along the front range," said Stan VanderWerf, Chair of the El Paso Board of County Commissioners. "We want to hear from our citizens as we weigh the possibility of adding a TABOR question to the November ballot. Our Department of Public Works estimates we have hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance road needs in our county. This is one option to address the problem, but our citizens are smart and informed. We need to hear from them to see what ideas they have."
If, after public comment, Commissioners vote to place the question on the 2021 ballot, this will mark the first time since 2017 the county has held hearings about a potential ballot question. Commissioners refunded $4M to taxpayers in 2018, $3.1M in 2019, and will refund $7.1M from 2020. "We pride ourselves in doing the most with what we're given," said Commissioner VanderWerf. "As a board, we're consistently more interested in refunding money to taxpayers. We all want to keep the size of government in check while fulfilling our responsibility to our residents."
El Paso County residents can participate in the meetings either in-person or remotely. Meetings begin at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room at Centennial Hall, located at 200 S. Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903. All meetings can be viewed online at http://www.elpasoco.com and clicking on the "TV" icon in the upper right-hand corner, on the county's Facebook page, or watch the meetings on Comcast Channel 59 and Century Link channel 1089. Citizens can comment on the proposal in-person, or through a Microsoft Teams link that will be posted online. Those wishing to comment can also do so on the county's Facebook page or by e-mailing the Commissioners directly.
Dates: Aug. 17 and 24, 2021
Location: Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Time: Meetings begin at 9 a.m.
How to Comment: In person
Online: Via Microsoft Teams if you have a computer with a microphone and camera.
Via phone: 1-719-283-1263 and use Phone Conference ID: 702 866 973#
Via Facebook or Twitter @epcpio
Via direct e-mail to Commissioners:
District 1-Holly Williams; [email protected]
District 2-Carrie Geitner; [email protected]
District 3-Stan VanderWerf; [email protected]
District 4-Longinos Gonzalez, Jr .; [email protected]
District 5-Cami Bremer; [email protected]