From the Colorado Springs Gazette (John Schroyer): “SB141 was introduced only after the deal was approved last year by both counties’ boards of commissioners. In El Paso County, the proposal passed 3-2. It would create a new governmental entity to oversee Fountain Creek and address issues such as water quality, erosion and flood control.”
The district’s nine-member board, which would be made up of officials and appointees from both counties, will have the power to impose new fees and place mill levy increases on county ballots. Placing a tax increase on the ballot would require the support of at least seven members, and a mill levy hike would be limited to 5 mills. That could raise up to $30 million a year for new projects. For the time being, the board will have at least $10 million a year for the next five years, which could be doubled by federal funds. The initial money comes out of the budget for the $1 billion Southern Delivery System, the pipeline from the Pueblo Reservoir that Colorado Springs Utilities plans to build. The district would include all of Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Four smaller districts would be created within the umbrella district, which stretches from south of Pueblo, where Fountain Creek feeds into the Arkansas River, to north of Colorado Springs, where the creek begins. The four districts would have separate powers, and new fees would likely differ between them.
The bill was approved unanimously by the House Agriculture Committee and is expected to head to the full House. But [Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan] said she won’t breathe easy until it’s signed by the governor. “Water bills, they’re an unusual beast. Things will fly through (the Legislature), and then on second or third reading they can die,” she said.
More Coyote Gulch coverage here.