Colorado Springs City Council approves $420 million general fund budget for 2023 — with more money for police and firefighters. Some are asking why

Colorado Springs City Hall. May 31, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Colorado Springs City Hall. May 31, 2022.

Colorado Springs City Council has approved a budget of more than $420 million for next year. The general fund plan includes more than $2.5 million for 15 new police officers and more than 30 additional firefighters at two new fire stations.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers initially presented the plan to council in October.

At a budget hearing Tuesday, several citizens spoke out against increasing funding for the Colorado Springs Police Department, citing recent reports of alleged racial violence and use of excessive force

Shaun Walls, representing the Chinook Center and the Colorado Springs Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, asked the council to reconsider the CSPD funding and to "stop ignoring" citizens.

"What you guys are doing is what causes revolution," Walls said. "It's what causes riots. It's what causes buildings to be burned down."

The city currently has 803 positions authorized in its existing budget for police officers. Suthers said in his recent state of the city address that a recent study by the city found Colorado Springs will need 1,000 officers by 2035 in order to keep up with expected population growth.

The approved budget also has $200,000 specifically for the fire department's Homeless Outreach Program, an addition made by city council. Earlier this year, advocates sounded the alarm that the program could run out of money if it couldn’t raise the $400,000 annually some say it needs to stay afloat. The program is also funded by grants.

Just over $3 million in the approved budget is allocated for increased staffing across several city departments including Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services and Public Works.

The 2023 budget is 6.1 percent more than the 2022 budget. According to Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, that's mostly due to a projected increase in sales tax revenue of 13 percent along with $11.9 million reallocated from last year.  

In an emailed statement, Suthers thanked council members:

"When I became Mayor in 2015, I committed to improving the Administration’s relationship with Council, and one way of doing that was to ensure the Council and the Council’s budget committee was well informed of the City Administration’s budget considerations long before the Mayor formally tendered a proposed budget on the first Monday in October of each year," he said. "As a result, the budget process during my tenure has been collaborative and productive, resulting in budgets being approved in a timely fashion and with broad consensus. I am very appreciative of the cooperation that has led us to this result.”

To view the entire 2023 City budget, visit

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