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Proposed Colorado Springs’ stormwater actions on Fountain Creek will likely go to the voters


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Colorado Springs is looking at several options to secure stormwater funding, any of which would most likely mean a vote of the people. “Technically, it’s possible to implement it as a fee, but it has to be in front of voters politically,” Colorado Springs Utilities executive Mark Pifher told the Pueblo Board of Water Works this week.

Pifher updated the board on the work of a stormwater task force created by El Paso County commissioners and the Colorado Springs City Council. The task force decided to recommend the county and cities study ways to find sustainable funding for more than 400 projects and $900 million in funding needs identified in the first phase.

Commissioners and the City Council are considering the recommendation.

The issue is of concern to Pueblo because the stormwater from the most populated areas of El Paso County funnels into Fountain Creek and could make flooding worse if not controlled. There is urgency in El Paso County because of commitments to Pueblo County for a permit to construct the Southern Delivery System and increasing damage from stormwater structures in place.

A white paper last year by Summit Economics outlined several possible funding sources, Pifher explained.
A new El Paso County entity, similar to the Denver Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, could be formed or the payment for stormwater could be managed by the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District. Another possibility would be to create a stormwater utility for Colorado Springs, which already operates gas, electric, sewer and water utilities.

Colorado Springs City Council abolished the city’s stormwater utility, created without a vote of the people, in 2009, after anti­tax activist Doug Bruce persuaded voters to approve city Issue 300, calling the stormwater fee a “rain tax.”

More stormwater coverage here.

New Roxborough Water and Sanitation District water treatment could cost $23 million


From the Castle Rock News-Press (Rhonda Moore):

The Roxborough water treatment plant, at more than 50 years old, has lasted beyond the end of its useful life and, according to the district board, it’s not a matter of whether disaster will strike, it’s a matter of when. The district is waiting to hear from its customers who must decide how to pay for a new facility, estimated to cost as much as $23 million.

The new plant will replace the one purchased in 1972 from Aurora Water, according to the district. The existing plant was built in 1958 and refurbished at the time of the purchase. It has outlasted its expected 30-year lifespan by about 20 years, according to the district board…

Completion of a new facility will cap a long-term water plan that ensures delivery of water to Roxborough residents for the next 100 years, he said.

Moore was instrumental in reaching a 2010 deal with Aurora Water to get water to Roxborough residents in what Moore calls the most comprehensive, sustainable water plan in Douglas County. In the deal, Roxborough signed a 99-year lease with Aurora to buy into the Aurora system for $22.3 million, securing water to serve Roxborough’s build-out population of 3,800 units. The deal does not allow Roxborough to sell water outside of its boundaries, which means the Roxborough plant will not be designed to serve residents in surrounding neighborhoods, including the proposed Sterling Ranch development, Moore said…

The district announced its plans in 2012 and in December sent a questionnaire to customers asking them to select one of three payment options for financing the new plant. Among the options are a $20 monthly hike in water rates, beginning in March or April, which would allow the board to move forward with design and financing in the first quarter of 2013; a $10 fee, which would double to $20 by 2014 and delay the start of construction by about 12 months; or a $5 fee that would increase every six months to a $20 fee by 2014, which would delay start of construction by about 18 months.

The district has about $5 million in capital reserves to contribute to the plant and is aiming for a 30-year note to pay the balance, Moore said.

Moore has been fielding residents’ questions, many of which revolve around the district’s policy to limit outdoor watering during the summer to twice a week. The board has yet to vote on watering restrictions, Moore said. The new plant will have a 4 million-gallon-per-day treatment capacity, double that of the existing plant.

More infrastructure coverage here.