A group that wants to phase out property taxes in Colorado Springs soon will be able to start collecting signatures to place a proposed initiative on the November ballot.
The city’s Initiative Title Setting Review Board cleared the language Thursday that will appear on petitions that the group plans to circulate before an Aug. 8 deadline.
“The title board is not to either approve or disapprove of the initiative,” City Attorney Chris Melcher said during the title board hearing.
“We don’t express any opinion as to the subject matter of the initiative but whether or not it simply meets the requirements to move forward,” he said. “I think it does meet the requirements to move forward.”
The group must collect 27,215 valid voter signatures, City Clerk Sarah Johnson said.
The group, led by 70-year-old Roger McCarville, who moved to Colorado Springs about 16 months ago, was represented at the hearing by retired businessman Ed Bircham, a member of the petitioner’s committee.
“I think this would stimulate the economy,” Bircham said. “It would help small business.”
City officials disagree, saying the proposed charter change would have devastating consequences and force the city to cut various services.
The city, which is grappling with an infrastructure backlog estimated at more than $1 billion, has a general fund budget of about $223 million. Property tax revenue is expected to bring in about $19.7 million this year.
Under the proposed ballot measure, property taxes would phase out in five years.
Bircham said he doesn’t believe the initiative would hurt the city.
“I think it would bring business and would help senior citizens, so that’s why I got involved with it,” he said.
Video from today’s title board hearing: