Voters in Colorado Springs are leaning toward supporting a measure aimed at creating a wildfire mitigation and prevention program.
The measure, referred to the ballot by Colorado Springs City Council, sought to retain up to $20 million in funds collected over the limit imposed by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR, to create a city-wide wildfire mitigation and prevention program.
It would be overseen by the Colorado Springs Fire Department and include an advisory committee that would help identify projects. Each year, the program could spend up to 5 percent of the balance of the fund.
Projects could include physical work to decrease hazards, as well as education and evacuation planning. Work could also extend outside the city limits in areas that directly impact the city. An example of this might be partnering with the National Forest Service for work in Pike National Forest.
Critics have said that the risk levels for wildfire vary depending on city location, and that it should be up to those in high-risk areas to foot the bill for mitigation. While the west side of the city makes up the largest swath of the wildland-urban interface, other areas around the city like Palmer Park, Pulpit Rock and the Erindale neighborhood are also at high-risk. The city has also said a large wildfire has an economic impact for the city as a whole.
Southern Colorado is changing a lot these days. We can help you keep up. Sign up for the KRCC Weekly Digest here and get the stories that matter to Southern Colorado, delivered straight to your inbox.