Colorado Springs: Which stormwater efforts will be funded now that the enterprise fund is kaput?

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

a vote on Tuesday confirmed the [Colorado Springs city] council’s position to phase out the stormwater enterprise within two years. Unless another funding mechanism is found, Colorado Springs will absorb only the minimal funding for federal requirements, maintenance, health, safety and emergencies in its general fund beginning in 2012. Colorado Springs council adopted the new policy in response to Doug Bruce’s Issue 300, which implies the voters chose to end the stormwater enterprise, without actually saying so. Bruce campaigned for the issue as an end to what he and others called a “rain tax” and celebrated by tearing up his stormwater bill on television.

Council also agreed to include a $4.24 million-$6.7 million project to upgrade the Templeton Gap levee, which protects thousands of homes, was not on the critical projects list. In all, about $9 million of work on projects from the critical list are likely to be completed under the two-year phase-out.

Council members did not come up with an alternative for funding the remainder of critical projects on the list, although some talked about developing a regional approach with other El Paso County communities or putting a stormwater question on a future municipal ballot.

At the same time, Colorado Springs is planning on spending $46.2 million on SDS in the coming year, according to its published 2010 annual operating plan. The city has issued bonds for the project.

Colorado Springs also will spend almost more than $27 million for maintenance, repair, inspection and replacement of sanitary sewer lines in the city, including $7.5 million for ultraviolet treatment at its Las Vegas Street treatment plant, $7 million for sewer line upgrades and $6 million to fortify stream crossings, according to the operating plan. The city committed to spend at least $75 million in sanitary sewer upgrades, which are costs paid by customers and have nothing to do with the stormwater enterprise.

The city is obligated to make some of the repairs to its sanitary sewer system under state compliance orders, which are also a factor in a federal lawsuit won by the Sierra Club.

More stormwater coverage here.

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