The demise of a Colorado Springs ballot question Tuesday to raise taxes for trails, open space and parks will not be the end of the funding battle for open space advocates. 

The city-backed question had sought to double the dedicated tax from .1% to .2%, up from 1 cent to 2 cents on a $10 purchase, and extend it through 2041. The millions additional in funding the tax could have brought in was meant to help meet maintenance needs and develop vacant parkland among other purposes. 

Now the existing .1% tax will stay in place through 2025, and advocates have several years to try for an extension and increase. 

However, the timing of the tax was likely off as residents faced increasing costs for food, gasoline and a coming spike in utility bills, said Councilman Richard Skorman, a long-time parks and open space advocate. 

"It was a tough election. It was one we can put behind us and hopefully there will be a brighter future," he said. 

Springs Taxpayers Executive Director Laura Carno said some voters were also frustrated with the city for purchasing new open space property, a large parcel in the southwest foothills of the city, right before asking for more money for parks. Voters she talked with felt the city should prioritize funds to take care of current properties rather than buying more. 

Republican passion, economics, national frustration may have driven 'no' votes on parks, roads, school bonds in El Paso County, Colorado Springs

The question also split open space backers, with some endorsing the question and some fighting against it because the overall percentage of funds dedicated to open space was set to go down. City officials tried to address this concern by promising that the dollar figure spent on open space would stay the same. 

"There was no sense that the open space portion was going to be preserved," said Lee Milner, a long-term open space advocate. 

Milner said he would like to see a citizen-led effort to put a question on the ballot focused on open space perhaps in April 2023. It has not been decided if it would be both an extension and increase or just an extension, he said. 

"We can’t rely on city council and the mayor to drive this ship. They had the opportunity, they drove it, and they ended up hitting a reef and they lost," he said. 

A citizen-led effort could require petitioning the question onto the ballot, which can be a time consuming and expensive process. 

Skorman said he would also continue to fighting for open space and would support an extension of the existing sales tax in the future. A future election could draw a more diverse group of voters with a greater interest in the issue. 

"This wasn’t a voter group that had much of an appetite for anything like that," he said. 

He also expected parks funding would continue to be a priority for current city leadership. 

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

Election 2021 Results | State and Local Measures | El Paso and Teller Counties

Measure Yes No
(Early, unofficial results)
Colorado - Amendment 78 571,962/ 43.65% 738,342/ 56.35% ✔
Colorado - Proposition 119 608,452/ 45.60% 725,750/ 54.40% ✔
Colorado - Proposition 120 573,095/ 43.34% 749,314/ 56.66% ✔
Colorado Springs - 1A 56,602 / 45.16% 68,728 / 54.84% ✔
Colorado Springs - 2C 38,352 / 46.30% 44,488 / 53.70% ✔
Colorado Springs - 2D 47,556 / 57.51% ✔ 35,136 / 42.49%
School District 49 - 4A 4,366 / 25.55% 12,720 / 74.45% ✔
Colorado Springs School District 11 - 4B 19,904 / 49.13% 20,608 / 50.87% ✔
Manitou Springs School District 14 - 4C 1,090 / 42.56% 1,471 / 57.44% ✔
Harrison School District 2 - 4D 3,752 / 64.42% 2,072 / 35.32%
Peyton 23-JT - 5A 639 / 61.21% ✔ 405 / 38.79%
Monument - 2E 1,330 / 58.82% ✔ 931 / 41.18%
Monument - 2F 1,444 / 63.03% ✔ 847 / 36.97%
Monument - 2G 1,288 / 59.00% ✔ 895 / 41.00%
Ramah - 2A 26 / 54.17% ✔ 22 / 45.83%
Calhan - 2B 97 / 56.73% ✔ 74 / 43.27%
Security Fire Protection District - 6A 3,881 / 62.33% ✔ 2,346 / 37.67%
Briargate General Improvement - 6B 4,289 / 65.50% ✔ 2,259 / 34.50%
Four Mile Protection District - 6A 455 / 69.36% ✔ 201 / 30.64%

2021 El Paso, Teller and Fremont County Election Races

Candidate Votes Percentage
(Early, unofficial results)
CITY OF FOUNTAIN
Mayor (four-year term)
Sharon Thompson ✔ 1,832 53.47%
Detra Duncan 1,594 46.53
Council member - At-large
Four-year term (vote for one)
Frederick Hinton 2,168 100%
Council member - Ward 1
Four-year term (vote for one)
Christopher Curl 444 44.53%
Gordon Rick ✔ 553 55.31%
Council member - Ward 3
Four-year term (vote for one)
Cory Applegate ✔ 667 68.98%
Marcia Gieck 300 31.07%
CITY OF MANITOU SPRINGS
Mayor (two-year term)
Alan Delwiche 558 34.94%
John Graham ✔ 1,039 65.06%
City Council - Ward 1
Four-year term (vote for one)
Natalie Johnson 309 100%
City Council - Ward 2
Four-year term (vote for one)
Nancy Fortuin 368 100%
City Council - Ward 3
Four-year term (vote for one)
Michelle Whetherhult ✔ 303 63.39%
Bob Todd 175 36.61%
SCHOOL BOARD RACES
Harrison District 2
Four-year term (3)
Janice Frazier 2,626 22.69%
Kesha Lewis 1,829 15.80%
Kimieko Lei Otamura 1,447 12.50%
Joyce Salazar 2,854 24.66%
Michelle Wills-Hill 2,819 24.35%
Colorado Springs District 11
Two-year term (1)
Al Loma 21,930 52.68%
Shawn Gullixson 19,696 47.32%
Four-year term (3)
Sandra Bankes 21,600 20.47%
John Gustafson 11,923 11.30%
Rebecca Acevedo Kenderline 5,637 5.34%
Lauren Nelson 21,239 20.13%
Julie Ott 15,817 15.07%
Chris Wallis 15,411 14.61%
Jennifer Williamson 13,880 13.16%
District 49
D-1, four-year term (1)
Dave Cruson 1,025 29.82%
Fadil Lee 396 11.52%
Jamilynn D'Avola 2,016 58.66%
D-4, two-year term (1)
Ivy Liu 1,831 64.45%
Tammy Harold 1,010 35.55%
D-4, four-year term (1)
Lori Thompson 1,582 60.27%
Elmer Harris 839 32.30%
Justin Jakovac 204 7.77%
Academy District 20
(vote for three)
Tiana Clark 8,716 10.30%
Brian Coram 8,597 10.16%
Nathan Johnson 4,517 5.23%
Nicole Konz 15,413 18.21%
Tom LaValley 15,148 17.89%
Jackie Lesh 8,940 10.56%
Lindsay Moore 3,735 4.34%
Michael Riffle 1,549 2.55%
Aaron Salt 10,253 16.91%
Jason Silva 3,056 3.49%
Widefield District 3
(vote for three)
Susan Waller-Graham 2,381 17.14%
David Dock 2,752 19.35%
Gregory Fisher 2,553 17.95%
Dolly Handel 2,067 14.53%
Brenda Miller
Marie Dale Peterson-Henderson 1,591 11.19%
Yevgeniya Tsyganok
Donna Walsh 2,878 20.24%
Cheyenne Mountain District 12
(vote for two)
Mark Alanis 1,026 7.60%
Randy Case 4,114 30.49%
Mary Louise Fiddler 1,829 13.56%
Lynne Stadjuhar Platt 944 7.00%
Nissa Steinhour 3,551 26.32%
Rae Ann Weber 2,028 14.55%
Fountain-Fort Carson District 8
Four-year term (2)
Kenneth Coffee Jr. 1,034 34.89%
Shirley Martinez 1,002 33.81%
Michelle Massaro 928 31.31%
Two-year term (1)
Rose Terrell 1,873 100%
Manitou Springs District 14
Four-year term (2)
Christina Vidovich 1,278 47.07%
Natalie Johnson 1,437 52.93%
Ellicott District 22
Four-year term (1)
Matt Amendt 597 50.17%
Mike Ferguson 593 50.30%
Hanover District 28
Four-year term (2)
James Robert Bolish 47 11.81%
Matthew John Grove 66 16.58%
Thomas Joseph Lippert 169 42.46%
Edward Albert Sweazy 116 29.15%
Woodland Park District RE-2
District B
Aaron Helstrom 24 .42%
David Rusterholtz 3,328 58.22%
Amy Wolin 2,364 41.36%
District C
David Illingsworth II 3,077 54.81%
Misty Leafers 2,537 45.19%
District D
Gary Brovetto 2,858 50.30%
Paula Levy 2,824 49.70%
District E
Suzanne Patterson 3,412 60.65%
Dale Suiter 2,214 39.35%
Cripple Creek-Victor RE-1
Fremont RE-2
Four-year term (2)
Andrew Dalton 23 24.21%
Karleigh Purcell 19 20.00%
David Wood 28 29.47%
Andy Franklin 25 26.32%
Big Sandy District 100J
Director
Four-year term (2)
Chad Maranville 56 41.79%
Daniel Brown 21 15.67%
Greg Mitchell 57 42.54%
Joint School District 28
Four-year term (3)
Kelli Markus 413 32.47%
Julie Mannering 462 36.32%
Buffi Cavanagh 397 31.21%
Monument Home Rule
Charter Commission (9)
Jennifer Coopman 1,041 11.33%
Matt Brunk 1,106 12.04%
Brandy Turner 1,019 11.09%
Sana Abbott 969 10.55%
Ashley Watt 990 10.79%
Janet Ladowski 963 10.48%
Shannon Clark 996 10.87%
Steve King 1,108 12.06%
Joel Lusby 993 10.89%
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