Remember this article about how Colorado Springs was supposedly going to become a ghost town after voting not to increase taxes? It hasn’t happened yet.
In fact, folks are stepping up, pitching in, and Colorado Springs is becoming a more tightly knit community as a result. The buses stop running at 6:15 p.m. now, and most streetlights stay dark throughout the night. Three city pools have shut down, and turf is withering in more than 100 parks.
So a local swim club has taken over some of the pools. Volunteers pick up trash in parks. Those who can afford it, pay extra to turn on the streetlights in front of their own houses. "The best thing is we have all gotten to know each other much better," one resident said. "We're going to have a big party at the end of the summer."
The government is shrinking, citizens are picking up the slack, and it's transforming Colorado Springs into a libertarian paradise.
Just seven months ago, municipal officials laid out details of a desperate financial situation. Revenues were down about $16 million. That amount, and enough to cover $8 million more in rising pension and health care costs, had to be whacked from the 2010 budget. It was the second year in a row of major shortfalls. Read more here.
FWIW, Colorado Springs’ population is 414,000 people. Their city general fund budget is $238 million. Contrast that with Cincinnati at about 330,000 people and $365 million. Overview here. They have no rail of any kind, only a tiny bus system, but they get around quite well on a network of modern highways.
What’s most fun about Colorado Springs though, is that they have a COAST-like group that is absolutely driving the government crazy. Some rich guy paid to collect more than 400,000 signatures to put 3 issues on the statewide ballot. Amendment 60 is aimed at lowering or eliminating property taxes; Amendment 61 seeks to restrict borrowing by state and local governments; and Proposition 101, seeks to reduce the state income tax, reduce taxes and fees on motor vehicles, and end taxes and charges on telecommunications.
Now they’re thumbing their noses at the campaign finance reporting requirements, and got hit with $6000 in fines. They remain obstinate, and the issues remain on this November’s ballot. Go Colorado Springs!