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Colorado Springs cuts $20 million from budget, enacts local government hiring freeze

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KRDO

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The City of Colorado Springs is already feeling the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now millions of dollars have been cut from much-needed programs.

Officials have already cut $20 million from the city budget to make up for lost revenue. A hiring freeze has been implemented and Mayor John Suthers said the city has 100 fewer employees than it did at this time last year.

"We are going to see a precipitous decline in revenue," Mayor Suthers said. "And we're going to have to do what we need to do to deal with that."

The mayor said the city will continue to ensure it has a balanced budget amid the pandemic. Now, things like recreation projects, improvements to police centers, and Americans With Disabilities Act improvements are being put on hold.

But after cutting $20 million in capital projects, Suthers predicts more cuts will follow.

"I think the next phase is that we're going to have to have some across-the-board wage cuts," Suthers said.

The mayor added that at every stage of the pandemic, officials will need to evaluate revenue shortfall and find a way to make up for it.

But Suthers is remaining optimistic about the future of Colorado Springs.

"I'm still trying pursuant to our goal of adding 120 police officers, 32 firefighters by 2022. I still have every hope in the world of doing that."

A city spokesperson told KRDO on Friday it's difficult to predict how much of a toll COVID-19 will have on the city's checkbook. Officials are awaiting April sales tax numbers that they won't receive until June.

Suthers also added that no furloughs or layoffs have been put in place at this time.

The city believes there will likely be additional "trigger points" in the summer and fall.

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Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is an investigative reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.

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