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Pueblo voters to decide on road repair funding in 2A ballot issue

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- On November 2nd, eligible voters in Pueblo will vote either "Yes" or "No" to a ballot issue that would allocate millions to road repairs.

If passed, 2A would use $576,609 from 2020 excess sales tax revenue to fund road repairs in Pueblo.

The condition of Pueblos roads has long been a topic of conversation. Currently, $5 million is devoted to funding street repairs. Of that $5 million, $2.2 million comes from the Highway Users Tax Fund and $2.8 million from the Street Repair Utility Enterprise.

Those in favor of 2A say it will raise an additional $5 million if sales tax revenues reach ten percent year to year.

"The number one complaint and it still is today is roads," Charles Hernandez, from the Vote Yes on 2A team, said. "We are asking the voters to approve and allow to the city to retain $576,609 during 2020 and going forward for excess revenues to be able to obtain and spend those dollars in infrastructure and roads."

The ballot issue does not propose a tax increase of anything kind. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) allows the taxpayers to impose a tax increase.

"This will simply allow us to keep any money that we raise from the current tax rate and put those to good use in the city government," Pueblo Mayor, Nick Gradisar, said.

However, not everyone is in favor of ballot issue 2A. Pueblo business owner Lee Gladney has said he will vote no in November.

"If you look at the particulars of 2A especially towards the bottom, it says that the city is going to use the $576,609 for roads this year but it doesn't specify that for perpetuity purposes," Gladney said. "That $5 million that they are devoting next year, it might go to roads but it might not.

Gladney also voiced his displeasure with needing an additional $5 million in funding, after already devoting that same amount to roads for years now with little progress to show for it.

"Let's say five million dollars a year for the last ten years, that should have made a pretty good dent on that dial that they are talking about, but it hasn't been," Gladney said. "Giving open-ended tax revenue to the city is like giving a gambling addict an open-ended credit card that the taxpayers foot the bill for."

On the other side, those in favor say the current funding hasn't been enough when they may have been optimistic that it would be before.

"The original $5 million moves the needle, but it doesn't really help to move the needle for last ten years of the lack of repairing roads. That is why this ballot initiative is so critical to allow the excess revenues to help us fix the roads," Hernandez said.

If 2A does not pass, the excess revenues ($576,609) would be refunded to property owners in Pueblo. Numbers in 2020 estimate around $6.61/resident over 18 years of age would be refunded, plus the excess 2021 revenues.

With many people renting in Pueblo, only a little over half of the people would see that refunded money, according to Hernandez.

"There's about sixty percent homeownership in Pueblo, which means the forty percent of those that rent, that have spent hard-earned money, that have helped this rebounding of revenues, they wouldn't get a dime out of it," he said.

Here is a list of roads that are planned to be fixed if ballot issue 2A passes:

Road Repair Plan 2022:
• Prairie Avenue (Northern Avenue to Pueblo Boulevard)
• Dillon Drive (Elizabeth Street west to City Limits)
• Jerry Murphy Road (Candytuft Boulevard north to City Limits)
• Ridge Subdivision (35 streets)

Road Repair Plan 2023:
• Abriendo Avenue
• Desert Flower Boulevard
• Walking Stick Boulevard
• Jerry Murphy Road (Highway 47 to Bonforte Boulevard)
• Lakeshore Avenue
• Ridge Drive (Highway 50 to Eagleridge Blvd

Road Repair Plan 2024:
• Jones Avenue
• Bonforte Boulevard
• Court Street
• West 24th Street (I-25 to Atlanta Avenue)
• Constitution Road
• Bluestem Boulevard
• Candytuft Boulevard
• West 29th Street (I-25 to Dillon Drive

Road Repair Plan 2025:
• Main Street
• Encino Drive
• La Vista Road
• Dillon Drive (26th Street to Eagleridge Boulevard)
• Portland Avenue
• Prairie Avenue (Northern Avenue to  Thatcher Avenue)
• West 29th Street (I-25 to High Street)

Road Repair Plan 2026:
• Northern Avenue
• East 15th Avenue
• Norwood Avenue
• East 8th Street
• West 8th Street
• Troy Avenue

There are eight locations to drop your mail-in ballots off at in Pueblo:

  • Pueblo County Election Office at 720 N. Main St., in the back of the building 
  • Pueblo County Courthouse at 215 W. 10t St., on the east side of the building 
  • Pueblo County Sheriff’s Substation in Pueblo West at 32- E. Joe Martinez Blvd. 
  • Colorado State Fair at 950 S. Prairie Ave. 
  • Lamb Branch Library at 2525 S. Pueblo Blvd. 
  • Pueblo Rural Fire at 29912 US Highway 50 
  • CSU Pueblo at 2200 Bonforte Blvd. 
  • PCC at 900 W. Orman Ave.
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Sean Rice

Sean is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

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