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2C TOPS tax extension and increase on November ballot in Colorado Springs

2C TOPS tax extension and increase asks whether or not to raise sales taxes to help maintain...
2C TOPS tax extension and increase asks whether or not to raise sales taxes to help maintain and build new parks, trails and open spaces.(KKTV shot video by Miranda Paige)
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:28 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) -You may have seen ads or heard about one of the ballot initiatives in Colorado Springs. 2C TOPS tax extension and increase asks whether or not to raise sales taxes to help maintain and build new parks, trails and open spaces.

Right now, for every $10 you spend, one penny of that goes to city parks and trails. 2C is asking voters to raise that to two pennies. The initiative will also extend this tax through 2041. It’s set to expire in 2025.

The tax program is called TOPS: trails, open space and parks program. The Trails and Open Space Coalition is backing this initiative.

“We’ve never felt it be more important than what we all went through in the pandemic. I mean playgrounds like this one have been packed because people knew that playgrounds and parks and trails and open spaces were some of the safest places to be,” said Susan Davies, Executive Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition.

Advocates for the sales tax say it is a small increase that will make a big difference in helping maintain and build parks. Davies estimates the tax will cost families an additional $1.17 cents a month or about $14 a year.

The coalition also says there are 16 parks in the Springs waiting to be developed.

“These are parks that developers said to the people moving in, ‘there will be a park here someday’ because the city parks department has to build it. But they can’t build it without money,” said Davies.

She says the Grey Hawk neighborhood park along Spectrum Loop located in northern Springs was announced 15 years ago and is still waiting to be built.

“4.5 acres. It has so much potential. It’s full of weeds because there hasn’t been money to build it and maintain it,” said Davies.

Opponents say now is not the right time to raise people’s taxes.

“Lots of people have their hands out right now on this ballot, the city, the county, the school districts. And from each of them we hear, ‘But it’s only this little bit.’ But when people are living paycheck-to-paycheck and are behind on their bills because of just reduction of incomes over the last year plus, those things all add up,” said Laura Carno, Co-founder of SpringsTaxpayers.com

Carno also argues that the money can be raised in other ways.

“The city could use that COVID relief money to do something different with parks. They could give a bigger chunk of money to the parks. If that were the priority for the city, they should fund it as a priority,” said Laura Carno, Co-founder of SpringsTaxpayers.com

Voters will see 2C on November 2nd in the 2021 special city election.

For more information on 2C click here.

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