Manitou Springs officials only expected to raise $122,000 from their 5 percent tax on recreational marijuana, reports the Colorado Springs Independent, but their lone dispensary operating in 2014 managed to exceed that.
Now the city will ask the voters for the money in order to abide by the Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. Under TABOR, if tax revenue grows faster than expected, that money goes back to the voters unless the revenue is approved for city use by the voters.
To top it off, the city can't tell voters how much money they'd be approving -- that would be a privacy problem since there was only one dispensary during 2014.
Manitou finance director Rebecca Davis told the alt-weekly that the city didn't anticipate the issue because they had passed local legislation that was believed to bypass TABOR. The city's attorney says that's not the case for the first year's revenue on a new tax though.
So will other Colorado cities and town be confronting questions about marijuana money on their ballots? It's too early to tell, says Sam Mamet, executive director for the Colorado Municipal League.
More generally, 86 percent of municipal measures to keep TABOR surplus money have been approved since 1992, according to CML's data. More often than not, voters say yes to these kinds of questions, Mamet notes.