WILDFIRE
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An El Paso County sheriff's car sits on the side of the road as a man leads his horses to safety as the Carson Midway wildfire burns in the background on Friday March 16, 2018 in Hanover. (Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

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El Paso County voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to extend a public safety sales tax till 2029.

The tax, about 2 cents on a $10 purchase, now generates about one-third of the Sheriff’s Office budget.

County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to refer to the Nov. 6 ballot the request to extend the tax by eight years. It's now slated to sunset Jan. 1, 2021.

Revenue from the tax pays the salaries and benefits of 192 Sheriff’s Office employees and accounted for more than $20 million of the agency’s 2018 budget of about $75 million. It also has paid for equipment, jail security upgrades, IT needs such as software and radio systems, and the purchase of the Mark Dabling Boulevard building that houses the county’s Office of Emergency Management, officials said.  

Since voters approved the tax in 2012, the Sheriff’s Office has responded to more calls for service and wildfires while dealing with a quickly growing jail population, county officials said.

County Government Reporter

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