(COLORADO SPRINGS) — On Thursday morning, Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade visited the Colorado Springs Police Department Training Academy to explain the need to use TABOR funds for a new academy.

“The weight of the badge is heavy, the needs and the job itself demands high accountability,” Mobolade said. “So, it’s upon me as mayor and our community to provide that much needed support for our officers to be able to do their job.”

If approved, the plan would use excess tax revenue to go towards building a new academy instead of refunding Colorado Springs Utilities customers under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

“It’s almost 5 million that we’re asking of TABOR excess money,” Mobolade said. “The flipside of that argument is… why don’t those funds go back to our residents. Where we’re looking about $21 to certain households that have that electric account and that’s not every household. We believe the ability for the city to retain these funds and use it for a need that we’re all desperately needed will benefit the entire city.”

Mayor Mobolade is working alongside Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez to make this goal possible.

“We have to be able to recruit people into this and the ability to use a great facility to show that we have this great training environment is huge,” Vasquez said. “And I just want to really emphasize the fact that the landscape of policing is changing all the time.”

Currently, CSPD shared there are several openings in the department which they are looking to fill.

“So right now, our authorized strength is 818 with the Academy class that we have in right now,” Vasquez said. “We’re about 753, I believe, right now…but we have to understand that those that are sitting here in this classroom, they don’t really help us out on the street.”

CSPD and Mobolade both share the hope that a new academy could help both recruit and retain talent in Southern Colorado.

“That’s one of the great opportunity that I see ahead of us, is to bring our new recruits to this place and for them to know that they have a world class training facility in a world class American city and that they are going to get the best training,” Mobolade said. “That also keeps them there. Keep in mind that recruiting is one aspect of the of the solution.”

During a media tour on Thursday morning, Chief Vasquez pointed out the different training rooms and explained why the current academy is not big enough to accommodate the current class sizes.

One of the trainings taking place during the media tour on Thursday morning.

“We have our four substations out in the community, Gold Hill, Stetson, Falcon and Sand Creek,” Vasquez said. “Then we have the police operation center that has the community room that your familiar with.”

A new academy would provide CSPD with enough space to train both current officers and new talent.

“So, we’ll find a place for them, but it’s not conducive to the great training we want to provide,” Vasquez said. “We’re having to ship them all over the city to be able to do that.”

In a previous report, FOX21 shared concerns of community members who wished for funds to instead go to long-term housing. Mayor Mobolade addressed how he is also working to help with affordable housing in the city.

“The other pushback is around, is this the best way to use these funds when we have other needs in our community, such as housing,” Mobolade said. “I ran on the desire for more housing, it’s still a top priority. I’ve made some moves right now to ensure that we are moving the conversation in the right direction.”

Plaques line the walls of the academy with the graduating classes including the class which Chief Vasquez was a part of.

“I started July 31st of 1995, so I just hit my 28th year,” Vasquez said. “My class was the second class that went through this building. So, we’ve been here about 29 years.”

The graduating class Chief Vasquez is in, can be found on a wall inside of the academy.

A big smile appeared on Vasquez’s face when he shared his future goal of having a full academy class.

“I believe this is going to happen at some point in time,” Vasquez said. “We’re going to hit that authorized strength.”

On August 22, City Council will vote if this proposal should go on the ballot. If approved, it would then be up to voters to decide the fate of funding a new academy.