Red-Light Camera Program Revenue Should Fund Police Academy – Not TABOR Refunds

Since 2019, the City of Colorado Springs Red-Light Safety Camera Program has issued 93,722 citations to red light runners. It’s a profitable program. City officials insist it’s all about “public safety”.

Over the past 2 months, something else has been repeatedly tied to “public safety”- the upcoming TABOR retention ballot issue to fund a new police training academy. Politicians are using the words “public safety” to convince you to tax yourselves for the new police training academy.

Instead of asking for our TABOR refunds, wouldn’t it make much more sense to use the red-light camera revenue to fund the new police training academy?

We filed a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request to see how many people paid their red-light camera tickets. Over 71% of red-light camera tickets have been paid to the municipal court system. That money is directed to the city of Colorado Springs general fund. That’s over $4.9 million that has poured into city coffers since 2019. By December of this year, it appears that number could easily hit $5.9 million.

The Red Light Safety Program initially began with four cameras and has since ballooned to 22 cameras. The revenue generated from these cameras has grown every year. The City of Colorado Springs shows no signs of slowing down with the revenue-generating program.

Red Light Camera Revenue by year:

  • 2019        $270,450
  • 2020        $764,175
  • 2021        $1,272,675
  • 2022        $1,644,000
  • Jan. 1 – June 30, 2023*       $1,040,250* 

Please, understand that we aren’t in favor of the red-light cameras. We’ve been interviewed about them. However, as long as the program continues, it only makes sense to use the funds toward the police academy instead of asking taxpayers for additional funds.

In the past, Colorado Springs voters have been extremely generous. Almost $39 million of TABOR refunds have been retained for various city projects since 2009. Many of the TABOR funds have been put toward essential city services- roads, infrastructure, and public safety. But we never see a TABOR refund ballot issue to approve installation of bike lanes or to install Smart City technology. Instead, our safety and roads are routinely held hostage in exchange for more funding.  

Here’s a picture of the voter-approved TABOR refund retentions over the past 15 years:

  • 2009       $1.2 million           Essential City Services
  • 2010       $600,000               Road and Bridge Infrastructure Repairs
  • 2015       $2.1 million           Park and Trail Improvements
  • 2017      $6 million               Stormwater Projects
  • 2019       $7 million              Parks, Sports, and Cultural Facilities and Trail Improvements
  • 2020       $1.9 million           Adequate Municipal Services, Public Safety
  • 2021       $20 million           City-wide and Regional Wildfire Mitigation and Prevention Program

__________________

TOTAL= $38.8 million

Let’s give households back their TABOR refunds this time around. If Colorado Springs voters deny the November 2023 TABOR retention ballot issue for the new police academy, the funds will be refunded as electricity bill credits. A $21.50 TABOR credit for all Colorado Springs Utilities electricity account holders will be helpful in these tough economic times.

Reach out to Mayor Mobolade and the Colorado Springs City Council. Ask them to use the Red-Light Camera Program revenue to build and maintain the police training academy. They’ve already taken enough out of our pockets.

Mayor Yemi Mobolade  yemi.mobolade@coloradosprings.gov

Yolanda Avila  Yolanda.Avila@coloradosprings.gov

Lynette Crow-Iverson   lynette.crow-iverson@coloradosprings.gov

Dave Donelson   Dave.Donelson@coloradosprings.gov

Randy Helms   Randy.Helms@coloradosprings.gov

Nancy Henjum   Nancy.Henjum@coloradosprings.gov

David Leinweber   david.leinweber@coloradosprings.gov

Mike O’Malley   Mike.OMalley@coloradosprings.gov

Brian Risley    brian.risley@coloradosprings.gov

Michelle Talarico   michelle.talarico@coloradosprings.gov

2 thoughts on “Red-Light Camera Program Revenue Should Fund Police Academy – Not TABOR Refunds

  1. In a nutshell we are over paying our taxes and they have no intentions of refunding the over payments so they keep coming up with excuses to keep it !!!!

  2. Vote NO on ALL requests for more funding or keeping taxpayer TABOR refunds! The city has more than enough of our money already.

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