Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greeway District: Funding sources clearing up

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Colorado Springs Utilities and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District want to extend an agreement to develop a Fountain Creek Corridor Master Plan and have invited the new district to join. Colorado Springs and the Lower Ark would each provide $150,000 for the next two years, for a total of $300,000. Of that, they would make $100,000 available to the Fountain Creek district to hire a manager and pay office costs. The other $200,000 would continue to fund consultants working on the corridor master plan. “We’d like to not have the district on the sidelines and see it become a partner,” Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Ark district, told the Fountain Creek board Friday…

Carol Baker, Fountain Creek coordinator for Colorado Springs, said the city is moving ahead on demonstration projects at Clear Springs Ranch, part of its commitment to Pueblo County commissioners for the 1041 permit for Southern Delivery System. Colorado Springs has committed to paying $50 million to the district under the conditions, but the district won’t see most of that money for a long time. The first $300,000 of the payments will come in the next three years, but can’t be used for administrative costs, only for study of flood-control measures, including a dam on Fountain Creek, said Pueblo County Attorney Dan Kogovsek. The remaining payments will come in sums of $9.7 million the first year and $10 million each year for four years after SDS is completed. Last month, Colorado Springs City Council moved the completion date of SDS to 2016, rather than the 2012 date used when the conditions were being written…

By entering the agreement, the board would allow Colorado Springs to pay forward a portion of the funds it would eventually receive, but keep efforts to improve the creek moving forward, Baker said. The Fountain Creek district also would have a staff member working with Colorado Springs and the Lower Ark to create the master plan. The Fountain Creek board was generally favorable to the proposal, but Kogovsek and El Paso County Assistant Attorney Cole Emmons wanted to make minor changes in the agreement before it’s voted on. The agreement also would need approval of the Lower Ark board and Colorado Springs City Council. Pueblo County commissioners would also have to approve using funds to administration of the district as a credit against the future payments under the $50 million in the 1041 conditions.

“Our ultimate stream of money is a mill levy, but to get voters to approve it you need a demonstration project,” said Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner. He said the only other ways to gain money now would be to apply for grants through Pueblo and El Paso counties or to “pass the hat” as the Vision Task Force did for two years.

More Coyote Gulch Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

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