No plan B for Pueblo police, fire unions after tax fails

PUEBLO, Colo. – Pueblo police and fire union members don’t plan to lobby city council for more money in lieu of a public safety tax failing.

“At this point, we’re really not lobbying anymore. I think that we’ve made our case. They know where we stand. They know how we feel,” said Damian Pritts, a firefighter and spokesperson for Puebloans United for Public Safety.

Pritts worked with members of the police and fire unions to push for a half-cent sales tax increase that would have helped the police and fire departments hire more employees and replace aging equipment.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected the tax last week by 74 percent.

“Once we kind of got a chance to reflect and look at everything we’ve actually taken that as a positive. The people of Pueblo, 74 percent of them, feel that we’re doing a good job,” Pritts said.

Pritts told KRDO NewsChannel 13 he views the tax failure as a testament to voters’ satisfaction with the police and fire departments. When asked if he thought the additional tax also played a role, he said he agreed.

“Budgets are tight for everybody,” he said.

City council plans to finalize its budget on Nov. 24. KRDO NewsChannel 13 asked Pueblo City Councilman Steve Nawrocki, who supported the tax, if council plans to readjust its budget in lieu of the tax question failing.

“At this point in time, right now, we’re just trying to balance the budget,” Nawrocki said. He added that he plans to make public safety a priority for the next budget cycle.

As for replacing high-mileage police cruisers and other aging equipment, Pritts said he’s leaving that on the shoulders of city council.

“They have to make these tough decisions,” Pritts said. “Financially, even if we had a plan B, we don’t have the funds to promote it.”