Guest Speaker Garrison Ortiz

We had the pleasure of hearing from Garrison Ortiz at our November member meeting.

One item he addressed was the current situation regarding the passing of Ballot Issue 1B and the failure to pass Ballot Issue 1A, and what that means for the future of the new detention facility.

Failed – Ballot Issue 1A: Proposed an increase in Pueblo County Sales taxes by 0.39 % per dollar beginning January 1, 2020 with no specific end date.  Money would be used for countywide Public Safety improvements, including a new detention facility.  These revenues shall be a voter approved change to the limits imposed by Article X. Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution (TABOR) allowing funds raised by the tax may be spent without additional taxpayer approval.

Passed- Ballot Issue 1B: Raises retail marijuana sales tax from 3.5 to 6%. This is a discretionary tax that will be monitored by a citizen’s marijuana tax oversight committee which is currently being structured by County Commissioners to start meeting in January. This brings our marijuana tax rate in line with others in the state.

Garrison explains that a portion of the marijuana excise tax would be used to help construct a new jail but those funds are not enough. One solution to this is to construct the jail in phases.

Land has been donated to build an access road, which would also provide access to Pueblo West.

Garrison also fielded questions regarding Responsible Contracting. A subcommittee was formed to walk through policies proposed to the County. The meetings went well – there have been issues taken with the proposals and how they affect contractors.

There is pressure on the County for the jail construction to include a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). There are concerns about previous county projects.

No PLA has been finalized. Contractors view the Responsible Contracting as being a deceptive term for a union proposal. Pueblo Contractors already adhere to the practices outlined regarding safety, training and wages. The union does not provide additional value.

There will be a public work session – Garrison has said he would update us when he has more information.

Contractors are encouraged to reach out to him.

If we have questions about policies in Pueblo County, we can contact Anita Crain, Director of Purchasing. Phone 719-583-6095. Email

As always, we appreciate Garrison Ortiz and his efforts to advocate for Pueblo contractors despite the resistance he encounters.