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Trails & Open Space (TOPS) Tax

Parks & Open Spaces are what drew us all to this beautiful city.  It's vital to our future and Colorado Springs' children and grandchildren that we protect and grow our Open Spaces.  I wholeheartedly support the concept of the TOPS tax, but voters needs to understand exactly what this new tax means.  First and foremost, it is not a Charter Change.  Charter Changes require that ANY changes to the tax amount and/or implementation/parameters must go to a vote of the people to change it.  It's like the Constitution for our City and is our most protected legislation.  This will not be a Charter Change; so, the parameters are subject to change via administrative action and City Council.  In other words, those appropriations can be immediately changed to put all the money in maintenance which is the fear.  

The ballot language itself is highly misleading.  The voters will read the blow to infer that 75% of the tax (i.e. 75 cents of every dollar) is being allocated to the acquisition of open space.  That is incorrect.  In reality, only 40.9 cents of every dollar will be allocated to open space acquisition, assuming those parameters even hold.  I would llke to see better fiscal management, an improved tax base with higher wage jobs so we can expand the General Fund allocation of maintenance for municipal parks which is what is supposed to be and create a TOPS tax that is dedicated solely to Trails and Open Spaces as TOPS was originally intended.  

At a minimum, there needs to be total transparency with the voters so they understand exactly what they are voting for.  This language does not do that.  Our new mayor still has time to get this done properly which is my preference.

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