Voters clash with Pueblo City Council on half-cent money

Voters clash with Pueblo City Council on half-cent money

PUEBLO, Colo. - Pueblo City Council received an earful from voters who don't want council redirecting the city's half-cent sales tax to community projects.

About 200 people attended the first town hall meeting at East High School Tuesday night. The majority of people who spoke at the meeting want the money to continue being spent on bringing new jobs to Pueblo.

"Asking for a few streets to get paved, a fire station, some parks and things like that is not the way to go," said former city councilman Larry Atencio.

"If you want more money, you ask for another tax," said another Pueblo resident.

Many of the people who spoke at the town hall meeting said council members should consider drafting a ballot question, asking voters to approve a tax that would be spent on improving Pueblo's quality of life.

"I was actually surprised at the number of people who indicated they would support an additional tax," said City Council President Sandy Daff.

Council did have its share of supporters in the room. Several said that the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation (PEDCO), the organization that oversees job recruitment, isn't measuring up.

"PEDCO has been unsuccessful in creating meaningful, good-paying jobs," said Alvin Rivera, who lives in Pueblo.

"I don't believe that PEDCO is in the savings business," said Pueblo resident Roxy Pignanelli. "I believe they're in the procurement business and if that's not happening why not spend some of the money that can assist in bringing businesses here."

City council members Chris Kaufman and Daff spurred the discussion over the city's half-cent sales tax. There's $40 million in that account. Kaufman and Daff, along with other council members, believe it's too much money earmarked for economic development.

The next town hall meeting will be held May 29 at Parkhill Baptist Church.

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