From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Ryan Maye Handy):
Environmental disasters — flood and fire — have inspired several new bills in both the House and Senate that could change how Colorado residents and businesses interact with the state’s natural resources. Other bills are meant to clear hurdles for those working to rebuild from recent disasters…
At least six bills came out of the Flood Disaster Study Committee, which convened for special sessions this fall after the catastrophic floods in September.
House Bills 1001, 1003 and 1006 offer tax exemptions to property owners, business owners and disaster relief workers affected by the flood. House Bill 1002 would set aside $12 million for grants to wastewater treatment facilities that suffered damage in the flood, such as the city of Loveland’s wastewater system.
Other flood-related bills:
• House Bill 1004 proposes changes to the Colorado Department of Public Safety that would allow for deploying certain disaster relief resources prior to a presidential declaration.
• House Bill 1005 addresses the issue of replacing ditch headgates wiped out by the September floods. The bill would change the process of how new gates are approved by eliminating the requirement that they be approved by Colorado Water Courts.
• House Bill 1006 is a tax remittance for local marketing districts. It sounds esoteric, but it was designed to help cities and towns, such as Estes Park, generate more cash flow while their businesses recover from flood damage, said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, a sponsor of the bill.
The bill would permanently change quarterly filings of lodging taxes to monthly filings, giving resort towns such as Estes Park a more steady stream of revenue to help bring in visitors.
• Senate Bill 007 is a bipartisan effort backed by Lundberg, Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, and Rep. Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland, among others, that would allow county leaders to transfer money from a county’s general fund to pay for road and bridge repairs for up to four years following a governor’s declaration of disaster in their county.
More 2014 Colorado legislation coverage here.