From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Colorado Springs is moving on multiple fronts to address how Fountain Creek will be protected from damaging floods and how water quality will be improved. Some feel more could have been done all along, however.
Mark Pifher, an executive with Colorado Springs Utilities, updated the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District last week on the efforts to address stormwater needs. A regional stormwater task force will finish its second phase this fall. The group determined there are $900 million in stormwater needs in El Paso County, with $680 million of that in Colorado Springs. The next phase will determine how much funding is available and what strategies are needed to secure funds for the remainder. “We have been busy in the last few months, looking at Waldo Canyon and now the Black Forest Fire,” Pifher said. “We will be looking at a longterm solution in Phase 2.”
The task force is looking at different structures for funding, including property tax assessments and a regional authority of a fifth utility — on top of gas, electric, water and wastewater — to fund stormwater projects.
There are other efforts:
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach also has hired a consultant to review and prioritize stormwater needs.
El Paso County has adopted its own 1041 regulations that address stormwater control in new development.
Colorado Springs is nearing completion of a drainage criteria manual that regulates new construction.
“Whatever happens, there will be a need for an election, even if there is a fee,” Pifher said.
The Lower Ark District has been critical of Colorado Springs for eliminating its stormwater enterprise in 2009. The enterprise would have provided a steady stream of funding toward stormwater projects that would protect Fountain Creek. “I applaud your efforts, but it’s two or three years too long,” said Reeves Brown, a Pueblo County board member.