El Paso County residents are invited to attend and participate in two meetings during the month of August in which the Board of El Paso 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.
Commissioners will refund $7.1 million in excess 2020 revenues to taxpayers regardless of how the question under review moves forward, according to a county-issued news release.
“The 2020 refund is important to ensure full community recovery from COVID-19,” the release said. “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.”
“We want to hear from our citizens as we weigh the possibility of adding a TABOR question to the November ballot,” Stan VanderWerf, chairman of the board of county commissioners, said in the release. “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 $4 million to taxpayers in 2018, $3.1 million in 2019, and will refund $7.1 million from 2020.
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 Ave. All meetings can be viewed at 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 this Microsoft Teams link. Those wishing to comment can also do so on the county’s Facebook page or by emailing the commissioners directly.